Governor Murphy: Without Sustainable Revenues, NJ TRANSIT Turnaround at Risk

TRENTON– Governor Phil Murphy today warned that unless New Jersey enacts a budget based on sustainable revenues, the plan to overhaul NJ TRANSIT could be in jeopardy, as the state would be without the steady source of funding needed to ensure safe and reliable train and bus service over the long term.

“For us to truly remake NJ TRANSIT, and ensure this progress is more than just another in a long line of Trenton’s broken promises, we can’t have a one-shot infusion once every decade and expect to fund a safe and reliable mass transit system,” said Governor Murphy. “How is any commuter supposed to believe that we’re serious about fixing NJ TRANSIT – which is going to be a multi-year process – if we don’t have a concrete plan to get us there? How are the people of New Jersey expected to believe that we’re serious about fixing any of the long-term issues we face without the sustainable revenues to keep our promises?”

The Legislature’s budget includes roughly $1 billion in new revenue, which would all but disappear after two years. In addition, the Legislature’s proposal includes a $75 million diversion from the NJ Turnpike Authority to NJ Transit. This short-sighted solution will constrain continued progress on roadway projects and adds the specter of a possible toll increase on the NJ Turnpike.

In his budget proposal, Governor Murphy would invest $242 million in NJ TRANSIT in the coming year – all through sustainable and permanent sources – nearly tripling state funding as an initial step to improving the state’s mass transit system after Governor Christie cut its funding by 90 percent.

Moreover, it would enable NJ TRANSIT to work toward improving the delivery of services and the customer experience to nearly one million New Jerseyans who ride NJ TRANSIT’s buses and trains daily, as well as restoring its fiscal stability.

These investments include, but are not limited to the following:

  • $120 million – Replacement of non-recurring funding and “one-shots” that the Christie administration used as short-sighted alternatives to providing added State appropriations to NJ TRANSIT’s operating budget;
  • $19 million – Workforce expansion, which includes funding to hire an additional 114 staff in the following areas: bus, rail, light rail, police operations and strategic administrative support services;
  • $21 million – Contractual escalations related to private transportation carriers that operate Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, the River LINE and selected bus routes, bus facilities maintenance, technological software improvements, and other programs that improve the overall health of the transit system;
  • $4 million – Bus and rail service expansion into/from New York and the Meadowlands station, to address both interstate overcrowding and the anticipated opening of the American Dream Meadowlands complex;
  • $28 million – Corrects the structural passenger revenue shortfall caused by using unrealistic annual passenger revenue assumptions;
  • $4 million – Other bus and rail needs that will enhance scheduling, provide timely media updates and communication with the public, and improve service reliability.

In addition, the Governor’s proposal includes no NJ TRANSIT fare increases in Fiscal Year 2019.

“I am committed to a budget that is fiscally sound and based on permanent and sustainable solutions that can carry us forward,” the Governor added. “At the end of the day, that’s what we owe NJ TRANSIT commuters. It’s what we owe the people of New Jersey.”

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