NJ Transit was awarded $1.6 billion in American Rescue Plan funds, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced Jan. 12.
Transit funding from ARP aims to help keep agencies running, and their workers on the payroll. In New Jersey it will help preserve jobs for the statewide transportation agency’s 11,000 employees, and maintain service for passengers.
In 2020, NJ Transit provided approximately 206 million trips for riders. That works out to 1 out of every 29 trips nationwide, according to U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, both Democrats. And that’s not just along the rails; together with its buses, the agency covered 152 million miles in 2021.
“Whether people are trying to get to work, go to the doctors, or buy groceries, public transportation is vital to communities across our state,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez. “I’m proud to have fought for this critical funding which will ensure NJ Transit can get residents safely where they need to go, keep essential workers on the job, and our economy moving forward.”
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker reiterated that NJ Transit has played an integral part in the state’s response to the pandemic, “offering continued and reliable service for our essential workers and residents who rely on public transportation,” he said.
The $1.6 billion award follows the release last month of an additional $1.06 billion in funding under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) for the New York-Newark urbanized area, according to the senators.
The ARP award is part of more than $30 million set aside for public transportation in the measure, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden in March 2021. According to USDOT, it comes from $26.6 billion that was allocated to urban and rural areas, Tribal governments, and for the enhanced mobility of seniors and individuals with disabilities.
“These funds will go a long way toward allowing NJ Transit to continue to serve New Jersey commuters and will allow our administration to make critical investments in infrastructure,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement. “We look forward to putting this funding to work for New Jerseyans.”
$2.2 billion for additional pandemic-related needs is also included in ARP for transit purposes, which U.S. Department of Transportation said will be awarded later in 2022.
According to USDOT the Federal Transit Administration has to date awarded more than $56 billion in COVID-relief funding to transit agencies nationwide.