New Jersey Transit removed the 2019 fiscal year operating budget of $2.316 billion, capital program of $1.465 billion and grant programs that include services for senior citizens and people with disabilities from its Tuesday meeting agenda.
“You can expect to see it brought back within the next 30 days,” Department of Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said after the meeting. “It was pulled because there are elements of the budget that I am not sure are consistent with the governor’s mandate. My job is to make certain that we maintain the governor’s perspective. Until that time, we will not adopt a budget – either operating, capital, or grants – because they are closely tied together.
“There were items in the budget that were presented and a couple weeks ago they were refined as the budget was passed. … I have a responsibility not only to the governor but to the staff to make certain that the budget we provide is responsible with the governor’s mandate.”
NJ Transit trustees amended an existing contract to add $12 million to New York City-based Parsons Transportation Group for the design, furnishing, constructing, testing and commission of the advanced speed enforcement system for positive train control. It already has spent $183.7 million with Parsons.
The Positive Train Control Enforcement and Implementation Act of 2015 requires NJ Transit and other railroads to install positive train control by Dec. 31. The law permits a railroad to request the Federal Railroad Administration’s approval of an alternate schedule with a deadline extended to Dec. 31, 2020.
NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett said more than 900 personnel have been trained on the PTC system.
“We are meeting certain criteria by the end of the year,” Corbett said.
There are 83 locomotives and cab cars fully equipped and 75 towers installed. Corbett said NJ Transit is “continuing to work closely with the Federal Railroad Administration.
“It is not just checking boxes but a culture of safe railroads,” he said. “As we work to finalize the budget, no one was happier than I was when Gov. Murphy signed into law the budget with an extra $242 million for New Jersey Transit.”