New Jersey Transit will begin examining how to turn the land it owns into revenue-generating opportunities under a bill Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law Thursday.
Assembly Bill 3654 will require the statewide transit agency to establish an office of real estate economic and transit-oriented development.
The office will produce recommendations for development on parcels of land which NJ Transit owns.
“Exploring ways to increase NJ Transit revenue without hiking fares on riders is absolutely critical to reforming the agency,” said one of the bill’s sponsors, Assembly Transportation Chair Dan Benson, D-14th District, in a statement.
“Increased revenue for NJ Transit means better, safer and more efficient service for all New Jersey Transit customers,” Benson added.
The new law comes less than a month after the Murphy administration unveiled a 159-page audit identifying and proposing fixes for many of the woes NJ Transit has been facing over the past several years.
Chief among them are recommendations that the agency diversify its revenue streams and not rely solely on fares, which the audit says are “inadequate, uncertain and unsustainable.”
Proponents of A3654, such as the advocacy group New Jersey Future, praised the measure, saying it will also help meet a “growing demand for growth near train stations.”
“New Jersey is seeing substantial demand for walkable downtowns, particularly those situated near and around transit, and the creation of an office of transit-oriented development within NJ Transit will be a great resource to help meet that demand,” New Jersey Future Executive Director Peter Kasabach said in a statement.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation currently offers a similar economic incentive called the Transit Village Initiative, aimed at luring businesses and development to set geographic areas around train and bus stations.