NJ Transit adopts Fiscal Year 2017 operating, capital budgets

NEWARK, NJ — The NJ Transit board of directors recently adopted a Fiscal Year 2017 operating budget and capital program that supports continued investments in infrastructure and equipment to maintain the system in a state of good repair and enhance the overall customer experience, according to a recent press release from NJ Transit.

“The operating and capital budgets represent balanced, fiscally-sound spending plans, which keep fares stable and allows for the critical investments needed as we continue our commitment to safety,” NJ Transit Executive Director Steve Santoro said in the release.

The board adopted a $2.11 billion operating budget and a $1.68 billion capital program for FY 2017.

Nearly half of the revenue in FY 2017 operating budget comes from fares. The remaining amount comes from a combination of state and federal reimbursements and state resources of $427 million comprised of $140.9 million in state operating assistance, $82.1 million in state Clean Energy Funding and $204 million from the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. These resources are $36.7 million higher than the resources in FY 2016.

The capital program funds continued state-of-good-repair investments in transit stations and infrastructure supports an ongoing fleet modernization program and advances service reliability, safety and technology initiatives, according to the release.

Approximately 60 percent of the operating budget is dedicated to labor and fringe benefits costs. Other significant expenses include contracted transportation services, fuel and power, and materials, which together comprise approximately 25 percent of the operating budget.

The FY 2017 capital program continues to prioritize investment 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.

With the FY 2017 capital program, NJ Transit continues its financial commitment to PTC and meeting the federal implementation deadline by the end of 2018. The capital budget includes a $72 million installment for NJ Transit’s ongoing efforts to install PTC. In addition, approximately $125 million will fund track and bridge improvements and systemwide improvements.

The program continues to invest in upgrades to the Northeast Corridor, the agency’s most utilized rail line. The Northeast Corridor is allocated $64 million in FY 2017 as part of NJ Transit’s 10-year, $1 billion Northeast Corridor investment program.

Highlights of the capital program include approximately $64 million in rail station improvements: $11 million for Elizabeth Station improvements, $2 million for Bloomfield Station enhancements, $3 million for Perth Amboy Station improvements, $3 million for Cranford Station upgrades, and $44 million for other station and terminal improvements, inspections and repairs.

The program also supports continued investment in rolling stock renewal, with $105 million invested in rail rolling stock improvements and $186 million invested in bus and light rail infrastructure improvements, which includes $99 million for replacement vehicles and $12 million for the Capital Asset Replacement Programs for both the Newark Light Rail and Hudson-Bergen Light Rail systems.

In addition, the program is undertaking approximately $422 million in major capital projects that will help advance NJ Transit’s resilience to extreme weather events.

NJ TransitGrid, which will serve as an electrical micro-grid capable of supplying highly reliable power when the centralized power grid is compromised, is being funded through this effort as well as other projects including Delco Lead Train Safe Haven Storage and Service Restoration, Hoboken Long Slip Fill and Rail Enhancement, Train Control Resiliency, and Raritan River Drawbridge Replacement.

Funding is also provided to augment security, in addition to railroad bridge rehabilitation, track replacement, signal upgrades, repairs to overhead power lines and bus shelter upgrades.

Approximately 23 percent of the capital budget comes from the Federal Transit Administration’s Sandy Resiliency funds, with the balance coming from federal and other sources, including 33 percent from the Transportation Trust Fund and 30 percent from the Federal Transit Administration.