Keep up with essential planning news and commentary, delivered to your inbox every Monday and Thursday.
Post-Christie, NJ Transit Finding a New Way Forward
An opinion piece by Ray Greaves, chairman of the New Jersey Amalgamated Transit Union, lays out the effects of former Governor Chris Christie's neglect of the New Jersey transit system, especially with regard to the service and performance of New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ Transit), and calls for action in rebuilding a functional transit system.
Here's Greaves list of Gov. Christie's accomplishments: "Cuts to direct state subsidies bottoming out at 90 percent. An influx of unqualified political patronage hires. The draining of NJ Transit’s talent pool – some to retirements, other to systems that weren’t being starved. Federal safety mandates put on the back burner."
Governor Phil Murphy, who replaced Christie, has promised results in improving NJ Transit, but Greaves sees a mixed bag of results. A top-to-bottom audit of NJ Transit's operations was performed last year, yielding recommendations that are already being implemented, according to Greaves. The state has increased funding, hired a transit management consultant, appointed a customer advocate, and is preparing to release new performance data.
Greaves hesitation comes at the news of yet another special committee: "Unfortunately, this looks like nothing more than another round of the 'blame game,' as the Legislature seeks to distance itself from the fact that every cut under Governor Christie – the cuts that dragged down an entire system -- was approved by the Legislature."