N.J. Transit Adopts FY 08 Capital, Operating Budgets

NEWARK, N.J. — After posting a fourth consecutive year of record ridership growth, N.J. Transit has adopted a budget that supports more service while keeping core system cost growth constrained to inflationary levels.

“Gov. (Jon) Corzine once again has demonstrated his commitment to the economy, the environment and the quality-of-life for New Jersey residents by continuing state operating and capital support for public transportation,” said N.J. Transit Board Chairman and Transportation Commissioner Kris Kolluri. “This budget steps up to the service needs of growing ridership demand and lays the groundwork for the added capacity we need looking forward.”

At its regular monthly meeting, the Board of Directors approved a FY 08 $1.3 billion capital budget and a $1.6 billion operating budget.

The operating budget includes a contribution from the state of nearly $300 million, about the same amount as last year. Another $464 million in federal and state reimbursements help support the operating budget, which covers the daily expenses of operating the statewide system, fuel, electricity, insurance and other costs.

The capital budget directs $283 million to state-of-good-repair projects for bus, rail and light rail systems, including $47 million toward the purchase of 1,171 new buses; and $100 million to advance the Access to the Region’s Core project.

“This budget enables us to provide more service to more customers while keeping core system cost growth down to inflationary levels,” said N.J. Transit Executive Director Richard Sarles. “It also enables us to continue to invest in modernizing our bus and rail fleet, while improving stations and parking for our customers.”

Capital program highlights include:

  • $100 million for ARC and funding for planning, engineering or construction of many expansion projects under consideration, including the Northern Branch, Hudson-Bergen Light Rail extension, South Jersey/PATCO extension, Passaic-Bergen Rail project, MOM and Lackawanna Cutoff.
  • $85 million for track and bridge improvements, including replacing 13 miles of
  • N.J. Transit’s 536 miles of track and replacing 53,000 main line track ties.
  • $82 million in bus and light rail infrastructure and equipment, including $47 million toward the purchase of 1,171 new buses, $7 million for bus on-board fare-collection improvements and $2 million for Newark Light Rail infrastructure improvements.
  • $57 million for rail station improvements including 31st Street New York Penn Station, Trenton Station and Metropark Station.
  • $22 million for the Portal Bridge replacement project.
  • $3 million for additional parking at South Amboy Station and Edison Station Park & Ride.

The capital budget is primarily funded by the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund ($625 million), federal sources ($399 million), federal Congestion Management Air Quality and Surface Transportation Program funds ($126 million) and other targeted federal support ($86 million).

Operating budget highlights include:

  • Supports an additional 200,000 rail car miles – including, for example, new mid-day and weekend service on the Pascack Valley Line – as well as 18,000 additional light rail miles, 40,000 additional bus hours with new trips on 25 routes, and nearly a million new miles of Access Link service for people with disabilities.
  • Purchased Transportation ($165 million) includes additional funding for Access Link services and for the Elderly & Handicapped Reduced Fare and Private Carrier Bus Card programs.
  • Fuel, Power, Material and Supplies ($240 million) includes additional funding for increased bus and rail services.

The operating budget is primarily funded by passenger and other revenues ($825 million), state and federal reimbursements ($464 million) and state operating assistance ($298 million).

— Railfanning.org News Wire