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Operating efficiencies help keep fares unchanged for second consecutive year

July 8, 2009

NEWARK, NJ — The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today approved the operating budget and capital program for fiscal year 2010 that calls for no fare increase for the second year in a row, avoids major service cuts and funds the start of construction of the Mass Transit Tunnel and other important initiatives.


“Strong support for public transportation from Governor Corzine and New Jersey’s congressional delegation is helping NJ TRANSIT stay on course with state-of-good- repair projects, fleet modernization objectives and important capital projects that will  create jobs and strengthen our statewide transit system for years to come,” said NJ TRANSIT Chairman and Transportation Commissioner Stephen Dilts.


The Board approved a $1.79 billion operating budget and a $1.39 billion capital program for the fiscal year that started July 1. 


“We have cut administrative costs to the lowest proportional level in NJ TRANSIT history, enabling us to create a budget with no fare increase and no major service cuts,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles.  “While transit demand has grown, this constrained budget limits our new services to rail service to the Meadowlands sports complex and enhanced bus service in Bloomfield and Newark.”


Nearly half of the revenue in the FY10 operating budget comes from fares, with the balance from a combination of commercial revenues, state operating assistance and state and federal reimbursements.


The capital program funds state-of-good-repair investments in transit stations and infrastructure, supports an ongoing fleet modernization program and advances service reliability, safety and capacity-building initiatives. 


Operating Budget


The operating budget reflects a reduction in state operating assistance of $62 million to help the state balance its budget.  Cost-cutting measures help offset this reduction, including administrative savings of $22.5 million through planned furloughs, wage freezes and labor contract savings, as well as reduced printing costs and savings through an audit of employee health care benefits.


The operating budget supports new rail service to the Meadowlands sports complex and enhanced bus service along Bloomfield Avenue, with direct service to Newark Liberty International Airport.  Service on existing bus, rail and light rail lines will be sustained with no significant changes aside from routine schedule adjustments to put seats where they are most needed to accommodate ridership.


The budget assumes modest revenue growth from increasing ridership.  Given the volatility of the economy, revenue projections as well as fuel, utility and other costs will be monitored carefully throughout the fiscal year.


Capital Program


The FY10 capital program supports an ongoing fleet modernization program which includes the continued procurement of more than 1,400 buses, more than 300 multilevel rail vehicles and more than 50 electric and dual-powered locomotives.


The ambitious modernization program has since 2003 replaced about half of NJ TRANSIT’s rail car fleet with new passenger cars and will replace about half of all buses over the next several years.


The capital program includes $193 million to advance the Mass Transit Tunnel project and will also support planning, engineering and construction for a number of projects either under way or under consideration, including the Meadowlands rail spur, the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Line extension to 8th Street in Bayonne and the Passaic-Bergen Rail project.


The capital program provides $178 million for state-of-good-repair projects for rail, bus and light rail, including $41 million to replace track and ties and inspect and replace bridges.  A total of $15 million will advance the Portal Bridge Capacity Enhancement project; $10 million will fund an ongoing locomotive overhaul program; and $6 million will fund Meadows Maintenance Complex improvements. A total of $62 million will support improvements to the bus and light rail systems, including $44 million toward the purchase of new buses.


The capital program also invests $34 million in rail station improvements at Metropark, Newark Penn Station, and Ridgewood, Somerville and South Amboy stations, among others.


NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 895,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 12 commuter rail lines.  It is the third largest transit system in the country with 165 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.