NJ Transit approves budget with no fare hike

The New Jersey Transit Board of Directors Wednesday approved the agency’s $1.895 billion budget assuring riders that fares will not change in the coming year.

The budget is roughly $85 million higher than last year and includes an increase of $33.2 million in state operating assistance to a total of $309.4 million. The board also approved the agency’s $1.16 billion capital plan.

“Thanks to the support of Governor Christie, who has increased our state operating assistance during very difficult budgetary times, we are able to put forth an operating budget that allows for no fare increase this fiscal year,” said state Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit Board Chairman James Simpson in a statement. “We continue to position ourselves to be a stronger, more financially-stable agency that operates as efficiently as possible while responding to the transit needs of New Jersey residents.”

More than half of the revenue in the operating budget comes from fares ($881 million), with the balance from a combination of commercial revenues ($104.3 million), state operating assistance ($309.4 million) and state and federal reimbursements ($600.2 million).

Included in the capital budget are purchases of train cars and buses, technology upgrades, such as Smart Bus, and $2.6 million for Police Department radios and equipment purchases. Another $37 million will go to replace track and ties and inspect and replace bridges.  A total of $41 million will pay for electric traction and signal improvements, and $5 million will fund ongoing locomotive reliability programs.

NJ Transit approves budget with no fare hike