The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors adopted a Fiscal Year 2020 (FY 2020) operating budget and capital program that supports continued investments in personnel, infrastructure and equipment to maintain the system in a state-of-good repair, and enhance the overall customer experience.
“Governor Murphy’s steadfast commitment to improving NJ TRANSIT is demonstrated through the additional resources provided in the FY 2020 budget. These funds will support continued system improvements while keeping fares stable,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti.
“The operating and capital budgets continue the investments we’ve been making in equipment, infrastructure and personnel needed to improve the customer experience,” said NJ TRANSIT President & CEO Kevin Corbett. “This balanced budget shows we are maximizing our resources and spending every dollar wisely to restore the agency to national prominence and provide the transportation services New Jersey residents expect and deserve.’’
The board adopted a $2.39 billion operating budget and a $1.42 billion capital program for FY 2020.
This budget does not include a fare increase for FY 2020.
More than 40 percent of the revenue in the FY 2020 operating budget comes from passenger revenue. The remaining amount comes from a combination of commercial revenue and state and federal resources. The budget includes an additional $150 million in General Fund support for a total subsidy of $457.5 million, the largest General Fund subsidy to NJ TRANSIT in state history. Of this, $75 million will replace diversions and $75 million represents new direct funding, reflecting Governor Phil Murphy’s commitment to providing additional funding to help meet the operating needs of the agency.
The capital program funds continue state-of-good-repair investments in transit stations and infrastructure, investments in the Northeast Corridor, fare modernization, safety initiatives, bus and rail car purchases, Positive Train Control installation, system expansion, and support for local mobility programs.
Approximately 61 percent of the operating budget is dedicated to costs associated with labor and fringe benefits. Other significant expenses include contracted transportation services which represent 11 percent of total operating expenses. Other expenses including materials, fuel and power, utilities and outside services represent the remaining 28 percent of the total operating expenses. The budget also allows for the expansion of personnel in key areas within bus, rail, light rail, police operations, and strategic administrative support services.
IMPROVING THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE:
Bus and Light Rail Service Enhancements
The FY 2020 Budget includes $2.7 million for 22 additional bus operators and related support staff in order to accommodate nearly 30,000 new service hours, targeted primarily in the northern and southern markets, to help alleviate overcrowding and improve on-time performance in needed areas. The light rail system will also see an added boost with $482,000 for five additional operators on the Newark Light Rail to address staff shortages.
Access Link Call Center & Scheduling Improvements
The FY 2020 Budget includes $1.2 million in additional funding for a more dedicated support team at the call center in order to reduce customer wait times and improve trip scheduling.
Customer Experience Unit
NJ TRANSIT will hire additional staff to support the recently created Customer Experience Unit, committed to proactively assessing all of the customer touchpoints throughout the customer journey to ensure deficiencies are promptly addressed and customer needs are met.
INVESTING IN THE WORKFORCE:
Reinvestment in Direct Service Training Programs
The FY 2020 Budget includes $14 million in funding to hire additional trainees for the Locomotive Engineer Training Program (LETP) and Assistant Conductor Training Program (ACTP). Between LETP and ACTP, NJ TRANSIT anticipates four engineer training classes and two assistant conductor training classes to address staff shortages.
System Patrol & Safety Assessment
The New Jersey Transit Police Department will use $1.8 million to expand its ranks with 19 additional officers dedicated to patrolling our system. The Office of System Safety will also hire five new staff to conduct more frequent random rides, in order to better assess system safety and operating procedures.
The FY 2020 capital program continues to prioritize investments in infrastructure to maintain an overall state-of-good repair, enhance reliability, safety, and resiliency as well as improve the overall customer experience on the system.
The capital budget includes approximately $326 million to be invested in rail infrastructure improvement needs, including $58 million for bridges, which includes $41 million for Raritan River Bridge replacement; $24 million to fund electric traction and signal improvements, $95 million for the County Yard Expansion, $18 million to fund the Track Program, $36 million for Mason Building 9 Substation Replacement and $51 million for Portal North Bridge. The budget also directs $65 million to be invested in the capital lease for the Passenger Rail Investment & Improvement Act (PRIIA) payments to Amtrak.
The capital program continues to invest in system expansion including $33 million for Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Northern Branch extension; $8.8 million for the Lackawanna Cutoff project; and $2 million for Transit Rail initiatives such as engineering work to support the Glassboro to Camden light rail line.
The program also supports continued investment in rolling stock renewal, with $94 million invested in rail rolling stock improvements which include $17 million to continue funding for locomotive overhauls to maintain reliability and $75 million for the purchase of 113 Multilevel III vehicles. On the bus fleet, $100 million will go towards Cruiser Bus Replacements and $7 million for Access Link Bus Replacement. Additionally, there will be $19 million invested in bus infrastructure improvements which includes $13 million for parking deck replacement and $4 million for passenger facilities improvements.
Also, there will be continued support for local mobility programs. A $45 million portion of the budget will provide funding for enhanced mobility services for senior citizens and those with disabilities in both urban and rural areas.
Approximately 53 percent of the capital budget comes from the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF), with 42 percent from federal funds and 5 percent from other sources.
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