The NJ TRANSIT board adopted a Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 2021) operating budget and A Five-Year Capital Plan that supports continued investments in frontline personnel, infrastructure, and equipment to maintain the system in a state-of-good repair, helps advance its 10-year Strategic Plan (NJT2030), and includes additional spending due to the ongoing effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, all without raising fares for a third straight fiscal year.
“These spending plans reflect Gov. Murphy’s commitment to NJ TRANSIT, and allow us to continue building on the significant progress we’ve made at NJ TRANSIT over the past two and a half years,” said NJ TRANSIT President/CEO Kevin Corbett. “We’re especially pleased to be able to keep fares stable this year, as we know how critically important mass transit is for essential workers and our transit-dependent customers, many of whom are facing financial uncertainty as a result of the pandemic.”
The FY 2021 Operating Budget and A Five-Year Capital Plan help advance the 10-year Strategic Plan, NJT2030, by ensuring the reliability and continued safety of our transit system; delivering a high-quality experience for all customers with their entire journey in mind; powering a stronger and fairer New Jersey for all communities; promoting a more sustainable future for our planet; and building an accountable, innovative and inclusive organization that delivers for New Jersey.
The board adopted a $2.6 billion FY21 operating budget and A Five-Year Capital Plan consisting of $11.21 billion worth of projects already funded, including $1.4 billion in funding appropriated in FY2021 to various projects throughout the Five-Year Capital Plan, and another $5.78 billion worth of proposed projects for which funding has yet to be identified but vital to NJ TRANSIT’s service delivery.
The budget does not include a fare increase for FY 2021.
Approximately 14% of the revenue in the FY 2021 operating budget comes from passenger revenue. The remaining amount comes from a combination of commercial revenue and state and federal resources, which includes $1.4 billion in CARES Act funding. The three-year cumulative State Operating Subsidy under Gov. Phil Murphy is $836 million more or 73% higher than during the three-year period of Fiscal Years 2016-2018.
NJ TRANSIT will continue to build on achievements, which include increasing locomotive engineers to 373 on active roster, up from a low of 331 just two years ago; hiring more than 800 bus operators since January 2018 and saving more than $28 million in targeted health benefit reforms.
The Capital Plan 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, and support for local mobility programs.
Approximately $1.53 billion of the operating budget is dedicated to costs associated with labor and fringe benefits. Other significant expenses include contracted services, materials, fuel, power, and utilities. Additionally, costs associated with COVID-related response measures, such as enhanced cleaning and disinfecting, materials and supplies, and employee testing are included in this budget.
The budget also provides for the hiring of additional safety and field investigative staff, additional Locomotive Engineer Training Program (LETP) classes, an increase in New Jersey Transit Police Department members to allow for an improved police presence along the transit network, enhanced customer engagement and feedback capabilities, technology upgrades, and additional staff development and training programs.
The FY 2021-2025 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.
A Five-Year Capital Plan contains two sets of projects — the first set includes $11.21 billion of projects already funded by existing or expected resources. The second set identifies another $5.78 billion worth of proposed projects for which funding has yet to be identified but vital to NJ TRANSIT’s service delivery.
Capital Plan construction activity continues at a brisk pace with two major construction projects that started this calendar year: the Long Slip Fill and Rail Enhancement Project (total project cost $195 million) and the Raritan River Bridge Replacement project (total cost $595 million). Other major active construction projects remain on schedule, including the Elizabeth Station project (total cost $76 million), the Hoboken Depot Substation (total cost $34 million) and the Henderson Street Substation (total cost $39 million). Two other station rehabilitation projects — Lyndhurst Station (total cost $35 million) and Perth Amboy Station (total cost $47 million) are scheduled for award during this current fiscal year.
This year’s procurement and construction activity also continues to support critical rolling stock renewals, such as 1,104 cruiser buses, 110 articulated buses, 113 multilevel III rail vehicles and 16 battery electric buses. Other infrastructure improvements include improved lighting, bathroom upgrades and additional ADA elevators at Newark Penn Station.