NJT board adopts $3B+ FY2020 operating, capital budgets

Written by Andrew Corselli
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The New Jersey Transit (NJT) Board of Directors recently announced that it has adopted a Fiscal Year 2020 (FY 2020) operating budget of $2.39 billion and a $1.42 billion capital program—the budget does not include a fare increase for FY 2020—that aims to support continued investments in personnel, infrastructure and equipment to maintain the system in a state-of-good repair, and enhance the overall customer experience.

NJT noted that more than 40% of the revenue in the FY 2020 operating budget comes from passenger revenue. The remaining amount comes from a combination of commercial revenue and state and federal resources. The budget includes an additional $150 million in General Fund support for a total subsidy of $457.5 million—which NJT said was the largest General Fund subsidy it received in state history.

Of this, $75 million will replace diversions and $75 million represents new direct funding, reflecting Governor Phil Murphy’s commitment to providing additional funding to help meet the operating needs of the agency.

The capital program funds continue state-of-good-repair investments in transit stations and infrastructure, investments in the Northeast Corridor, fare modernization, safety initiatives, bus and rail car purchases, Positive Train Control installation, system expansion and support for local mobility programs.

NJT noted that approximately 61% of the operating budget is dedicated to costs associated with labor and fringe benefits. Other significant expenses include contracted transportation services, which represent 11% of total operating expenses. Other expenses including materials, fuel and power, utilities and outside services represent the remaining 28% of the total operating expenses. The budget also allows for the expansion of personnel in key areas within bus, rail, light rail, police operations, and strategic administrative support services.

The capital budget includes “approximately $326 million to be invested in rail infrastructure improvement needs, including $58 million for bridges, which includes $41 million for Raritan River Bridge replacement; $24 million to fund electric traction and signal improvements, $95 million for the County Yard Expansion, $18 million to fund the Track Program, $36 million for Mason Building 9 Substation Replacement and $51 million for Portal North Bridge. The budget also directs $65 million to be invested in the capital lease for the Passenger Rail Investment & Improvement Act (PRIIA) payments to Amtrak.”

“Governor Murphy’s steadfast commitment to improving NJ Transit is demonstrated through the additional resources provided in the FY 2020 budget,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJT Board of Directors Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “These funds will support continued system improvements while keeping fares stable.”

“The operating and capital budgets continue the investments we’ve been making in equipment, infrastructure and personnel needed to improve the customer experience,” said NJT President, CEO Kevin Corbett. “This balanced budget shows we are maximizing our resources and spending every dollar wisely to restore the agency to national prominence and provide the transportation services New Jersey residents expect and deserve.’’

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