Friday, July 11, 2014

NJT sets FY 2015 capex, operating budgets

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
New Jersey Transit has implemented a $2.019 billion operating budget and a $1.203 billion capital program for the fiscal year that started July 1, 2014.

The FY 2015 operating budget “reflects a stable level of state, federal and other reimbursements, which will enable us to hold fares stable for the fifth consecutive fiscal year,” the agency said. “Approximately 58% of the operating budget is dedicated to labor and fringe benefits costs. Other significant expenses include contracted transportation services, fuel and power, and materials, which together comprise approximately 28% of the operating budget. This year’s operating budget reflects an $8 million (1.0%) growth in passenger revenue, based on employment projections and ridership trends. Overall passenger revenue and commercial revenue represents approximately 52% of the total FY 2015 operating program.”

NJT noted that nearly half of the revenue in the FY 2015 operating budget comes from fares ($928.6 million), supported by a comparable amount from state and federal program reimbursements ($936.1 million), with the balance from a combination of commercial revenues ($113.7 million) and state operating assistance ($40.3 million).

The FY 2015 capital program “continues to prioritize investment in infrastructure to maintain an overall state of good repair, enhance reliability and safety, and improve the overall customer experience on our system,” NJT said. “The program continues to invest in upgrades to the Northeast Corridor (NEC), our most utilized rail line. The NEC is allocated $76 million in FY 2015 as part of our ten-year, $1 billion Northeast Corridor investment program that includes funding for the new North Brunswick Station, the Mid-Line Loop—a new flyover track to improve NEC operations and increase operational efficiencies—and upgrades to County Yard.”

Highlights of NJT’s capex program include $46 million in rail station improvements ($9 million for Elizabeth Station reconstruction, $5 million for Newark Penn Station improvements, and $12 million for projects to make Perth Amboy and Lyndhurst stations accessible to customers with disabilities); continued investment in rolling stock renewal, with $104 million invested in rail rolling stock improvements and $44 million toward the purchase of new buses; and funding for technology and security upgrades, and rail, bus, and light rail infrastructure improvements. Approximately 40% of the capital budget comes from the Transportation Trust Fund, with the balance coming from federal and other sources.

“NJ Transit is moving forward with a balanced, fiscally-sound budget that holds the line on fares for a fifth consecutive year and continues to deliver the same level of service to our customers,” said Executive Director Veronique “Ronnie” Hakim. “We will continue to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible to best respond to the needs of the customers who rely on our service day in and day out.”