Murphy vows no NJ Transit fare hike next year
NEWARK— Gov. Phil Murphy said there will be no fare increase for NJ Transit riders in fiscal year 2019.
In his budget address on Tuesday, Murphy said he would triple the state subsidy to NJ Transit by $242 million, for a total of $383 million. While proposing a sales tax increase and an increase of the state business tax, he did not specify where the money for NJ Transit would come from.
"Over the years, our residents have witnessed the quality of NJ Transit service erode, even as they were asked to pay more in exchange for less. There will be no fare hike in Fiscal Year 2019," Murphy told NJ Transit's Board of Directors and in a series of Twitter messages.
Murphy said former governor Chris Christie cut funding to NJ Transit by 90 percent.
"This is our first step in rebuilding an agency that has been hallowed out. We must restore the value for money our commuters deserve when riding NJ Transit," Murphy said.
The money will go towards hiring new engineers, track maintenance workers, electricians, bus operators and "human resource experts" to make sure NJ Transit is "on point and hiring the best talent."
Rider Jeremy Barretto is OK if Murphy had to break his vow. He just wants to see improvement.
"I don’t want to say I don’t believe him, however I’m a realist and I know there’s a lot of work that needs to be done in order to fix this problem. With that being said, if he has to raise fares but work is being done and there’s improvement before the fare hikes I would be OK with it," Barretto said.
During "Ask the Governor" on Monday, Murphy said NJ Transit needed new leadership. He appointed Kevin Corbett as the new executive director and Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti as transportation commissioner. He also ordered a "top to bottom" audit of the agency.
"I love where they're going," Murphy said.