MADISON, NJ – Higher rates for lower service has become almost commonplace for many NJ Transit riders in Madison and throughout the state, but Gov. Phil Murphy says he has a plan.
During a Tuesday morning press conference at the Madison train station, Murphy said his proposed budget includes “fixing NJ Transit” for $242 million.
Commuters should not pay higher rates for worse service, he said. New Jersey rail commuters, including more than 1,000 Madisonians, who commute with NJ Transit can rest easy in knowing there are no plans to raise rates, Murphy said—at least through June 30, 2019.
“Getting NJ Transit on the right track and providing value again to our commuters is both one of our top priorities and at the same time, one of our toughest challenges,” he said.
“Customers have been taken for a ride long enough, and we cannot ask them to pay more right now. We must first give them value for what they’re paying, and for far too long that’s something that they have not received.”
Madison rail commuters have seen rate hikes of more than 50 percent since former Gov. Chris Christie took office in 2010.
A round-trip ticket from Madison to New York Penn was once $15. That same trip now costs $23.50.
While in office, Christie cut NJ Transit funding by tens of millions of dollars, said Assemblyman John McKeon, who accompanied Murphy on Tuesday with several other officials. Murphy’s plans will increase NJ Transit funding by 172 percent for fiscal year 2019.
“I’m extremely grateful for the Governor’s generous support and commitment in his proposed budget that provides NJ TRANSIT with the funding it needs, and without subjecting our customers to a fare increase through FY19,” said NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett. “It is now up to us to deliver real results for our customers.”
Madison Mayor Bob Conley said the funding increase and associated improvements will have a significant impact on quality of life for commuting Rose City residents.
When he arrived at the train station on Tuesday, Conley said he saw one example of the service issues Murphy highlighted during his address—a westbound train arriving on the eastbound track.
“That’s a good sign that we’re on the wrong track right now, but hopefully we’ll get on the right track,” he said.
Conley said he has an “incredible amount of faith” in Murphy’s ability to address NJ Transit shortfalls that have developed over at least the past eight years.
“He knows how important NJ Transit is to our state, and he is committed to making it happen,” Conley said of Murphy.
Murphy broke down his spending plans to dozens of area residents, local officials and members of the press at the Madison train station:
Here is a look at some of Murphy’s budgetary plans for NJ Transit rail customers:
- $19 million will be put forth to expand the agency’s workforce through the hiring of 114 additional staff members, “the people NJ Transit needs to ensure the system is properly staffed with capable, skilled employees,” Murphy said.
- $120 million will go toward the replacement of one-time funding used by the previous administration.
- $4 million will be used for scheduling improvements.
- $28 million will correct shortfalls caused by “unrealistic passenger revenue assumptions.”
For more information on the governor’s NJ Transit budget plans, click here.
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