On Wednesday, the NJ Transit board of directors adopted the Fiscal Year 2023 operating budget along with an updated capital plan, which does not include a fare increase for riders.
NJ Transit says the $2.75 billion operating budget and $2.64 billion in capital funding supports continued investments in personnel, infrastructure, and equipment to maintain the system and enhance the overall customer experience.
“Gov. [Phil] Murphy’s steadfast commitment to improving NJ Transit is demonstrated through the resources provided in the FY 2023 budget. This operating budget will support continued system improvements while keeping fares stable,” said Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, New Jersey Department of Transportation commissioner and NJ Transit board chair.
“The FY23 budget and update to our Five-Year Capital Plan are critical to not only maintaining the services we currently provide, but also making sure we are prepared for future demands,” said NJ Transit Vice-Chair Cedrick Fulton.
While 26% of the revenue in the budget comes from passenger fares, the remaining amount comes from dedicated funding from the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, which is $721 million in FY23, as well as federal COVID-19 money and a combination of commercial revenue and state and federal resources.
Nearly 61% of the operating budget goes toward labor and fringe benefits, with purchased transportation representing 10% while materials, fuel and power, utilities and outside services represent the remaining 29%.
Building on progress
Highlights to improve customer experience and safety include:
- $10.1 million in additional operational staffing in several departments,
- $1 million for additional police presence,
- funding for increased Light Rail vehicle maintenance,
- fully funding 129 bus positions, and
- enhanced recruitment for the HR Department.
NJ Transit says the FY23 update to its Five-Year Capital Plan continues to prioritize investments in infrastructure to maintain an overall state-of-good-repair, enhance reliability, safety and resiliency.
The plan contains two sets of projects. The first includes those already funded by existing or expected resources, while the second identifies proposed items for which funding has yet to be identified.
Debt and Defeasance and Prevention funding will go toward projects including:
- Newark Penn Station – $191 million
- Hoboken Terminal – $176 million
- Walter Rand Transportation Center – $250 million
- Bloomfield Station – $48 million
- Brick Church Station – $33 million
- New Brunswick Station – $49 million
- Roselle Park Station – $27 million
The $2.64 billion capital funding allocation is an increase of $1.045 billion above last year’s approved amount of $1.59 billion.
The capital budget includes roughly $814 million from the Debt Defeasance and Prevention fund to be invested in updates to major terminals and public facilities and rail station modernization.
It also allocates $40 million for the Northern Maintenance of Way Facility in Clifton and includes a funding increase of $191 million for infrastructure investment.
And, there will be a $40 million funding increase for customer facing technologies.
“The operating budget and capital funding allows us to continue to build on the progress we’ve made through new vehicle purchases, new and upgraded infrastructure, and hiring the personnel necessary to further improve the customer experience,” said NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett. “This budget is a roadmap for how we will maximize our resources and spend every dollar wisely to deliver the world-class transit service New Jersey residents expect and deserve.”