Thursday, July 13, 2017

NJT FY 2018 budget: $3.6 billion

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief, Railway Age

New Jersey Transit (NJT) has adopted a Fiscal Year 2018 budget of $3.6 billion "that supports continued investments in infrastructure and equipment to maintain the system in a state of good repair and enhance the overall customer experience."

The budget allocates $2.22 billion for operating and $1.38 billion for the agency's capital program.

Almost half of the revenue in the FY 2018 operating budget comes from passenger revenue ($1.01 billion), supported by a state and federal program reimbursements ($947.7 million), with the balance from a combination of commercial revenues ($115.2 million) and state operating assistance ($140.9 million). This budget reflects an increase in state and federal reimbursements, which NJT says will enable it to meet projected expenses this fiscal year. Approximately 61 percent of the operating budget is dedicated to labor and fringe benefits costs. Other significant expenses include materials and supplies and purchased transportation, 25 percent of the budget. Overall passenger revenue and commercial revenue represent approximately 51% of total revenue.

NJT's capital program continues investments in railroad bridge rehabilitation, track replacement, signal upgrades, repairs to overhead catenary and electric substations as well as investments into the state-of-good-repair of the Northeast Corridor (NEC), 
the agency's most utilized rail line, and Positive Train Control. Approximately 53 percent of the program funds the basic capital program improvements needed to maintain and improve the transit system, including $201 million in rail infrastructure needs and $109 million in rail rolling stock improvements.

Approximately 50 percent of the capital budget comes from the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF), with 47 percent from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and 3 percent from other sources.

Other elements of the capital program include $47 million in rail station improvements; $168 million in bus and light rail infrastructure improvements ($99 million for replacement vehicles, $11 million for Capital Asset Replacement Programs for Newark Light Rail and Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, and $17 million for bus passenger facilities and bus support facilities/equipment); $86 million in system-wide improvements ($9 million for technology and $6 million for safety improvements); and $33 million in system expansion ($29 million for Northern Branch Expansion and $4 million for the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Route 440 Improvement).

NJT Executive Director Steven H. Santoro said the budget is "balanced" and "reflects a laser-like look at individual business lines in order to maximize efficiencies and maintain a safe transportation system. As transit professionals, we owe our customers and stakeholders a solid plan that has the least impact on our riders. After much hard work, I am confident we delivered on that."

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