Gov. Phil Murphy detailed how he plans to utilize the extra $242 million allotted to New Jersey Transit in his first budget earlier this month.
Murphy said the 172 percent funding increase proposed for fiscal 2019 would help the transportation agency improve delivery of services and the customer experience, as well as helping it along the path to fiscal stability.
“New Jersey sits in a prime transportation corridor between New York and Philadelphia — we need to get transit right,” Murphy said in a statement. “These critical investments will help turn NJ Transit around and help it become an agency that our residents can trust. Investments will also improve rider safety and help NJ Transit meet federal guidelines.”
Murphy’s budget will enable NJ Transit to avoid a fare hike for the coming year.
“I’m extremely grateful for the governor’s generous support and commitment in his proposed budget that provides NJ Transit with the funding it needs, and without subjecting our customers to a fare increase through FY19,” NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett said in a statement. “It is now up to us to deliver real results for our customers.”
Murphy’s budget is subject to approval by both houses of the state Legislature.
“Gov. Murphy’s budget recognizes the immediate needs that NJ Transit is facing,” acting Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said in a statement. “This funding provides the necessary resources to make investments in people, equipment and safety programs to restore NJ Transit to national prominence.”
Some of the investments included in the proposal are:
- $120 million to replace nonrecurring and one-time funding in previous budgets;
- $28 million to correct a passenger revenue shortfall, blamed on past, unrealistic revenue assumptions;
- $21 million for contractual escalations related to private transportation carriers who operate select routes, including the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and River LINE;
- $19 million for workforce expansion, including hiring 114 staff for bus, rail, light rail, police operations and strategic administrative support;
- $11 million earmarked for growth and additional support for the agency;
- $4 million for bus and rail service expansion to and from New York and the Meadowlands;
- $4 million for other bus and rail needs to enhance communication and reliability.