Gov. Phil Murphy and New Jersey Transit Chief Executive Officer and President Kevin Corbett released the transportation agency’s 10-year strategic plan and a complementary five-year capital plan Monday.
The strategic plan, dubbed NJT2030, outlines the agency’s vision for statewide transportation in a way that drives economy with a focus on accountability, transparency and environmental sustainability.
“Before our current public health emergency, we made critical investments and undertook long-overdue reforms to NJ Transit’s operations which have unquestionably improved reliability and performance,” Murphy said in a prepared statement. “To safeguard that progress, NJT2030 and the Five-Year Capital Plan put forward the vision for how NJ Transit will address a decade-long period of disinvestment, and further transform the agency’s core business functions to regain the confidence of customers, stakeholders, and the communities it serves.”
As the first strategic plan of its kind for NJ Transit, NJT2030 begins with a vision to transform the agency into an innovative, world-class public transportation provider that meets the travel needs of every customer.
NJT2030 has five over-arching goals: (1) Ensure the reliability and continued safety NJ Transit; (2) Deliver a high-quality experience for all customers, with their entire journey in mind; (3) Power a stronger and fairer economy for the state’s communities; (4) Focus on sustainability; and (5) Build an accountable, innovative and inclusive organization that delivers for New Jersey.
Deliverables specific to the first two years, years three through five, and years six through 10 of the plan are included in the outline.
In support of the first goal, deliverables like increasing bus service on congested and unreliable routes using existing fleet and beginning Trans-Hudson capacity studies are outlined for years one and two, with fleet replacement and Trans-Hudson pilots to occur in years three through five. For years six through 10, work will be completed on rail infrastructure, and Trans-Hudson solutions will be implemented.
To promote a sustainable future, NJ Transit will study improved pedestrian and bike access in years one and two, pilot improved access and begin infrastructure improvements for net-zero emissions fleet between years three and five, and fully support a zero-emissions fleet between years six and 10.
Other deliverables include the eventual expansion of light rail into new corridors and NJ Transit IT system upgrades.
“Through these plans, we will build on the significant progress we’ve already made, support our state’s economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, and lay out a path forward for the next 10 years,” said Corbett in a statement. “The initiatives and metrics within these plans hold us accountable to our customers and stakeholders, while guiding our actions and decisions that will deliver a modernized, best-in-class transit system for the people of New Jersey.”
The complementary five-year capital plan establishes five performance indicators, called project values, that help translate the goals into metrics applicable to capital projects.
They are state of good repair, customer experience, safety, resiliency, business performance.
Highlights from the capital plan include investments in NJ Transit’s network of buses, rail infrastructure capacity enhancements and replacements, and the Hoboken Terminal.
Buses are often both the most flexible and cost-effective way to expand transit services, according to the capital plan, and they provide service over the largest geographic area since they’re not limited to affixed tracks. Highlights related to rail include upgrades to interlockings, retaining walls, bridges, signals, and other significant pieces of rail infrastructure.
Murphy and Corbett, when pressed at Monday’s daily COVID-19 press briefing, did not offer insight on how the five-year capital plan would be financed. The two pointed to Murphy’s plan to borrow up to $14 billion from the Federal Reserve, and federal aid from a future CARES Act in the near future.