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:
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.