About those concerns that the failures of mass transit during big events — most notably the Super Bowl in 2014 — would crush MetLife Stadium’s ability to land the final of the 2026 World Cup?
Completely unfounded. Never came up.
At least, that’s the word from Gov. Phil Murphy.
Speaking to a small group of media after an event Tuesday afternoon, Murphy said only the media has asked about the state’s well-known transit meltdown after Super Bowl XLVIII — a failure that saw customers waiting hours to get a train out of the Meadowlands.
FIFA never mentioned it, he said.
Why? Murphy suspects it’s because the problem has not been repeated.
“The principal reason is (that) it’s a dramatically different NJ Transit today than it was 10 years ago,” he said. “That’s the short and simple reason. And it will be even stronger in two and a half years.”
The public comments were some of the first Murphy has made since Sunday, when MetLife Stadium was awarded the final in a defining moment for the region.
The event has the potential to create 15,000 jobs and $2 billion in economic impact — not to mention an untold amount of positive branding.
Assuming there are no missteps.
Murphy is confident transit will not be a problem — but that doesn’t mean transportation issues are not a top concern.
Read more from ROI-NJ:
- Insiders: Murphy’s love of game was differentiator in MetLife bid’s for 2026 World Cup final
- Stadium story: Where MetLife had advantage over AT&T — and what’s up with new name?
- ‘Super’ concern: Kirkos has plan to help Meadowlands businesses get their share of generated revenue
- Murphy credits New York for helping MetLife earn World Cup final — and says both sides aim to use private money for infrastructure upgrades
- Why N.Y./N.J. over Dallas? FIFA only discusses decision in broad terms
- Inside the pitch: How N.Y./N.J. host committee was focused on landing 2026 World Cup final from 1st meeting
- In huge win for state, FIFA selects MetLife to host 2026 World Cup final
While he did not address the coming billion-dollar budget deficit that New Jersey Transit is facing, Murphy did talk about the need to be able to get tens of thousands of fans in and out of the area.
“Getting people, as a general matter, in and out of the stadium was, is and will remain a focus,” he said.
Murphy said NJ Transit has proved its ability repeatedly, pointing to the ease with which it handled three Taylor Swift concerts, three Bruce Springsteen concerts and a K-Pop concert in 2023.
“You just see a consistent performance,” he said.
Murphy said a big key has been the ability to move people through the Secaucus train station, whether they are coming or going from New York City or the Meadowlands.
“They did that brilliantly this summer with signage, a lot of ambassadors on the ground — you’ll see a lot more of that,” he said.