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More bus and rail service planned; expenses curtailed

July 27, 2005

NEWARK, NJ – NJ TRANSIT customers can look forward to new buses and trains, as well other service improvements, thanks to a new budget approved today. The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors adopted the $1.41 billion Operating Budget and a $1.15 billion Capital Program for Fiscal Year 2006 (FY06), funding the Corporation’s core services and new service initiatives through June 30, 2006. Once again, the Board contained expenses and froze the level of funds transferred from the capital program.

The FY06 Capital Budget includes the purchase of 131 additional bi-level rail cars to increase seating capacity and nearly 300 new ADA-compliant buses to replace the oldest vehicles in the fleet, as well as 2,300 new parking spaces on the system.

“New Jersey residents deserve a safe, reliable and comfortable transit system, and that is what this year’s NJ TRANSIT budget will provide,” said NJ DOT Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman Jack Lettiere. “We will continue to maximize the benefit to our customers, while operating the most efficient system we can.”

In the last six months, NJ TRANSIT has made $12.6 million in budget cuts and revenue enhancements, including reducing overtime and renegotiating contracts with vendors. Since FY03, NJ TRANSIT has achieved $50 million in internal savings. In addition, the Corporation is increasing commercial revenues—specifically, working with its advertising contractors, Titan Outdoor LLC and All Vision LLC, to generate an expected increase of $2.8 million in advertising revenues in FY06—a 33 percent increase over FY05.

“We will continue to aggressively pursue non-fare revenue opportunities, while at the same time turn over every stone to identify internal business efficiencies throughout the Corporation,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington.

The FY06 Operating Budget:

· Funds record service levels including the addition of more than 100 weekday and weekend trains and service increases on nearly 50 bus routes over the last several years.

· Funds the expansion of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system to Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen by the end of 2005.

· Once again freezes the level of capital program funds that are transferred to cover operating costs, an important step towards reducing the Corporation’s reliance on the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund and federal capital grants to support operating costs.

The operating budget’s expenditures are offset by $687.6 million in fares and other system-generated revenue, $278.7 million in state operating assistance, $356 million from the capital budget and $90.7 million from other state and federal reimbursements.

Excluding extraordinary surges in fuel prices and security costs, as well as continuing increases in service frequency, NJ TRANSIT has contained expense growth to 2.9 percent.

Capital Program

Recognizing the importance of maintaining the existing system in a state of good repair, the companion capital program invests $414 million in basic track, bridge and signal improvements on the railroad, as well as bus replacement and overhauls. Rail station and accessibility improvements at Newark Broad Street, Woodbridge, Trenton and Metropark stations are all funded under the budget, as is a new state-of-the-art passenger communications/public address system.

The capital program will also advance major projects for the future, including the Trans-Hudson Express Tunnel and the purchase of next generation buses and rail cars that will enter service in 2006.

The FY06 Capital Program includes:

· $177 million for rail infrastructure improvements and new rail equipment purchases.

· $88 million for rail station improvements, including Newark Broad Street, Ridgewood Station, Trenton Station and Metropark Station.

· $79 million for system-wide improvements, such as technology upgrades that improve efficiency and reduce operating costs.

· $28 million for bus and light rail infrastructure and equipment improvements.

· $26 million for new projects, such as the Trans-Hudson Express Tunnel to Midtown Manhattan, Passaic-Bergen County rail service and the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail extensions.

· $15.59 million for park/ride expansions, including at Edison Station and the Route 23 Wayne Park and Ride.

The balance of the capital program is dedicated to fixed expenses, which includes debt service ($311 million); capital to operating transfer ($356 million), and other state and federal earmarks for specific programs ($66 million).

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 779,200 daily trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 52 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.