NJ TRANSIT's Board of Directors today approved a $1.19 billion capital spending budget for Fiscal Year 2003 (FY03), which runs from July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2003.
"Despite the worst budget deficit in this State's history, the McGreevey Administration has made its commitment to transportation clear and NJ TRANSIT's 2003 Capital Spending Plan underscores that promise," said NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman and State Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox. "This year's plan provides an additional $60 million, which will help increase capacity on our rail system, expand commuter parking and launch new services as we prepare to wean the Corporation away from a long-standing practice of using capital dollars to offset operating expenses."
The capital plan is funded by $529 million from the State Transportation Trust Fund, $367 million from federal formula programs, $130 million from federal earmarks and $34 million from other sources. Also of significance is $130 million in funding for bi-level railcars from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ).
In addition to funding for capacity needs, NJ TRANSIT's FY03 Capital Program funds the purchase of new Comet V railcars, new cruiser and articulated buses and new electric and diesel locomotives. Continued funding is provided for first and second phases of Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, the first phase of the Newark-Elizabeth Rail Link and the Southern New Jersey Light Rail Transit System.
"This program has been modified to the maximum extent possible to be more closely aligned with the 'back to basic' priorities that I have established, particularly regarding investments in service, seats, parking and capacity," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington. "Although debt service, mandates and the ongoing transfer of capital funds to the operating budget consume the majority of the program, we have taken the first steps in transitioning this program to meet the basic infrastructure and capacity needs of the core system," he continued.
$260 million of the FY03 capital program is used to fund operating expenses. Debt service and commitments to ongoing light rail projects account for another $214 million and $159 million, respectively. During his remarks before NJ TRANSIT's Board of Directors, NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington addressed the use of capital funds in the operating budget and the need for a long-term policy for public transportation investment.
NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 761,000 daily trips on 238 bus routes, two light rail lines and 12 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 163 rail stations, 27 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.