With 15% fare increase approved, it’s hard to imagine Corporate Transit Fee is anything but a done deal

The governor’s proposed Corporate Transit Fee — the initiative that levies a 2.5% tax on companies with a net income of $10 million or more to help pay for New Jersey Transit — is just a proposal.

Feel free to pencil it into the budget now.

On Wednesday, the board of NJ Transit approved a 15% fare hike increase, set to be implemented July 1. The board also announced there will be a 3% annual increase in years to come.

While the Corporate Transit Fee could still be adjusted — or even eliminated — during the budget process, it defies political reality to think legislators would reduce a tax on top companies after NJ Transit has raised fares on its riders.

The decision to raise fares, which certainly was expected, came over protests from riders, who said it was unfair that NJ Transit would use riders in an attempt to close the $106.6 million gap in the operating budget for Fiscal Year 2025.

Of course, the biggest potential source of revenue likely will come from big business.

Gov. Phil Murphy surprised the business community during his budget address in February, when he proposed a Corporate Transit Fee tax of 2.5% for companies with revenues of $10 million or more.

Like the fare hikes, this tax has no end point.

Murphy, of course, has famously campaigned on the idea that he would “fix NJ Transit” unless it kills him. And, while NJ Transit has increased safety, hiring and added new cars — all positives — it has not found a way to meet its annual budget needs.

The 15% hike approved Wednesday is just the latest evidence of that. And it may not be the last example.

Though the fare hike addresses the coming fiscal cliff — and avoids service cuts for FY25 — there is no guarantee the future won’t bring additional increases and service cuts.