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Murphy: $242M for NJ Transit features $19M for hiring

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Governor Phil Murphy holds a press conference on NJ TRANSIT at Madison Train Station.
Governor Phil Murphy holds a press conference on NJ TRANSIT at Madison Train Station. - ()

Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday the $242 million he’s proposed in NJ Transit funding will include $19 million to hire 114 new drivers, engineers, maintenance crew and others.

Following up on his general proposal for the state transit agency in last week’s state budget address, Murphy staged a press conference in Madison to say the new 12-month NJ Transit funding would provide:

  • $148 million for general operations,
  • $28 million to correct shortfalls in previous passenger revenue projections,
  • $21 million to maintain transit stations,
  • $11 million for miscellaneous work-support priorities,
  • $4 million to expand bus and rail service between New York and the Meadowlands, and
  • $4 million in scheduling enhancements.

Murphy criticized his predecessor, former Gov. Chris Christie, for using “gimmicks” to fund NJ Transit.

“The problems caused by years of neglect will not be turned around overnight,” Murphy said. “We are committed to turning things around. Our budget proves our commitment to riders and employees. We have taken steps to alleviate riders’ headaches. This will not be a one-off.”

The state’s Acting Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti appeared with Murphy at the press event.

“In transportation, the most important aspect of our job is to provide safe passage,” Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “The next is reliability. I was talking with a young mother who needed to get home to reach her children. Our customers demand it and moreover they deserve it. While we have many dedicated employees, the governor’s proposed budget … is the first of many correct steps.”

No fare hikes are planned this year, officials said.

“We need to produce tangible benefits before we ask customers for a fare increase,” NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett said. “Staffing levels may not be sexy, but they can be restored. Additional positions allow us to hire professional staff to address issues of on-time performance.”

The money also will allow NJ Transit to perform long-delayed capital projects and to pay vendors, Corbett said.

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David Hutter

David Hutter

David Hutter grew up in Darien, Conn., and covers higher education, transportation and manufacturing for NJBIZ. He can be reached at dhutter@njbiz.com.

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