Trenton– The special committee formed to investigate NJ Transit will hold its second hearing on Thursday where they will hear from transportation experts and advocates on the current challenges facing riders and the future needs of New Jersey’s transit system, Senate President Steve Sweeney said today.
The Senate Select Committee on New Jersey Transit’s hearing will be held Thursday, December 12th at 12:00 noon in Committee Room 4, State House Annex, Trenton, N. J.
“This hearing will put a focus on what progress has been made to improve service and operations at NJ Transit and whether the agency’s funding needs are being addressed,” said Senator Sweeney, who is chairing the Select Committee. “These are core issues that require immediate remedies and long-term plans. The problems that have plagued bus and rail service need to be corrected and the ability of the transit system to meet future demands can best be met with strategic plans. We have to do better by commuters and other passengers who rely on bus and rail service in New Jersey.”
The hearing will feature some of the top transit experts in the state and focus on some of the critical issues, including NJ Transit’s real budget needs for operations and capital, what progress has been made to improve services, and the plans to manage expansion in the coming years.
The three panels of participants will be:
· Janna Chernetz, New Jersey Director of the Tristate Transportation Campaign Kevin Garcia, Bus Operations Analyst for Tristate; and Nick Sifuentes, New York-based Executive Director of Tristate;
· Nat Bottigheimer and Kate Slevin, New Jersey directors for the Regional Plan Association;
· Doug O’Malley, executive director of the New Jersey Environmental Federation; and Pam Frank, CEO of ChargEVC.
NJ Transit originally requested an increase of more than $150 million, but was provided only a $25 million increase in the original FY20 budget proposal. The Legislature’s budget ultimately added $50 million. The agency is still facing a projected $86 million deficit for the next budget year.
The special committee, created to investigate the causes of the operational and service problems that continue to plague the state’s central rail and bus system, includes: Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland), Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), Deputy Majority Leader Sandra Cunningham (D-Hudson), Senate Transportation Committee Chair Patrick Diegnan (D-Middlesex), Senator Joe Cryan (D-Union), Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-Morris/Somerset/Union), Senator Kip Bateman (R-Hunterdon/Mercer/Middlesex/Somerset), and Senator Kristin Corrado (R-Bergen/Essex/Morris/Passaic).
The committee will hold additional hearings and roundtables, and conduct site visits.