In Memoriam: Rep. Donald Payne Jr.


Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ), ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials, died April 24 at the age of 65. Payne had served in Congress since 2012, representing New Jersey’s 10th congressional district. He filled the seat left open after the death of his father, Donald Payne, due to colon cancer.

A lifelong public servant, Rep. Payne Jr. began his career in Essex, NY, working on the County Educational Services Commission. He began his support for transportation and infrastructure at the same time, working as a toll collector on the Garden State Parkway.

In Congress, Rep. Payne Jr. was a strong supporter of public transportation. For his home state, he tirelessly advocated for the Gateway Project, including consistent support for the Capital Investment Grant Program. During the Trump Administration, he played an instrumental role in securing funding for the first leg of the project, the Portal North Bridge, before his support of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act led to full funding for the entire project.

Beyond increased funding, the Congressman fought to ensure public transportation remained safe and accessible for all passengers. He co-led the “Think Differently Transportation Act,” which sought to ensure that Amtrak-serviced stations were in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. That bill would be his last to pass the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.