Organizations Urge the State of New Jersey to Reverse Decades of Chronic Underfunding and Provide the Agency with a Dependeable Source of Financial Support
TRENTON, NJ – In advance of today’s New Jersey State Senate Select Committee meeting on NJ TRANSIT, business, civic, and industry organizations today released the following statement detailing why increased funding for the agency is crucial for turning around the agency and making crucial investments to increase reliability and service.
“Safe, reliable public transportation is crucial for the economic health of New Jersey and prosperity of its citizens,” said Tom Wright, President and CEO of Regional Plan Association. “The Governor and State Legislature must address the problem at hand - inadequate transit funding. It is essential that New Jersey provide increased and dedicated funding for NJ TRANSIT in this year’s budget. Without new funding, commuters and residents will continue to suffer the negative consequences of a perpetually unreliable system and an agency that is unable to invest strategically for its future.”
“The transportation network is the vehicle that drives New Jersey’s economy and improves the quality of life for all of us. With just under a million trips a day, NJ TRANSIT is a key component to that network,” said Janna Chernetz, Deputy Director of Tri-State Transportation Campaign. "However, NJTRANSIT has suffered from years of neglect and underfunding. The result is an experience that is familiar to every rider: expensive fares, train and bus delays, breakdowns, cancellations, and overcrowding as more and more people take public transit system that strains to accommodate them. The agency didn’t crumble during one administration nor will it be totally fixed in one but the state can’t continue to shortchange an agency in terms of funding and vision and expect change. It’s time to adequately fund NJ TRANSIT so that the agency can provide service that the residents of the Garden State need and deserve.”
"NJ TRANSIT has suffered a generation of under investment that has led to our current crisis for our trains and buses and the nearly million transit riders too often stuck at the station or bus stop. The way to move forward to fix our crisis is to create dedicated transit funding from new revenue to close the chasm of ongoing raids from NJT's capital to operating budgets," said Doug O'Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. "The Governor and Legislature need to fix NJ TRANSIT to make it dependable for commuters and to provide a clean commute to get more cars off our roads and reduce climate pollutants. Increased funding for NJ TRANSIT should end the ongoing raids to the Clean Energy Fund, which would be a double win for our environment."
“We have witnessed first-hand the devastating effect of underfunding NJ TRANSIT,” said Chip Hallock, President & CEO of Newark Regional Business Partnership. “Commuters, students and residents who rely on mass transit to get to work, school, doctors and supermarkets have been ill-served by a collective failure of multiple administrations and legislatures that did not prioritize mass transit. Now is the time to promote a vision for our transit future and commit the financial resources necessary to properly serve our state’s citizens.”
“Engineering firms play a critically important role in the design, construction and maintenance of NJ TRANSIT's vast infrastructure network and have a keen understanding of the critically needed capital work necessary to keep the system running effectively,” said Joe Fiordaliso, President of the American Council of Engineering Companies of New Jersey. "A significant and dedicated source of capital funding is absolutely necessary to bring the system to a state of good repair; we appreciate Governor Murphy and President Sweeney prioritizing NJ TRANSIT and look forward to working with them toward a solution.”
Due to annual underfunding of the agency by the State of New Jersey, NJ TRANSIT is forced to transfer at least $400 Million from its capital budget to meet basic operating needs. Over the last decade, NJ TRANSIT’s operating costs have climbed 30%, while subsidies for the agency have declined, leaving the agency in a precarious financial position. All this is despite the fact that 60% of operational costs using for rail comes from rail rider fares (48% for bus and rail riders), which is among the highest percentage for any transit agency in the county.