NJT gets long awaited operational audit

Murphy: It took eight years of decline to get to this point, so NJT won’t get fixed overnight.

David Madden
October 09, 2018 - 1:53 pm
NJ Transit

KYW Newsradio

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METUCHEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Gov. Phil Murphy has released a long-awaited, 166-page audit of New Jersey Transit and vows to address every recommendation made within it.

It took eight years of decline, as Murphy sees it, to get to this point. So NJT won’t get fixed overnight.

One of the many issues addressed is a stable funding base. The governor says his budget already includes a $240-million boost for this year. And he’ll work with the legislature to improve things in the long term.

"We need to sit down, take this audit and figure that question out," Murphy said at an event at the Metuchen Train Station, where the audit was released. "I’d have to say today I’m open minded as to how we get there. I suspect they are as well, but we have to get there in a responsible way."

The governor was joined by Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle who agreed on the need for funding reform.

While the report is clearly centered on rail problems up north, there are also suggestions to develop a long-term strategic plan for the agency to better respond to problems before they get out of hand. There will also be efforts to recruit more and better workers and improving communication with riders.

It does not address the Positive Train Control problems that the feds insist must be corrected by the end of the year. Murphy says not to worry. That’ll get done on time.

"I’m incredibly proud of the team and the progress they’ve made since January," he added. "We were, I think, 13 percent of the way there. We’re now over 70 percent of the way there, and that’s a big step in the right direction."

The Atlantic City rail line was idled after Labor Day to allow for the work, and it’s expected to get done just under the federal deadline.

And by the way, the governor insists the bus system statewide is in much better shape.