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Yesterday, New Jersey Transit’s board approved a $1.9 billion operating budget and $1.2 billion capital program for fiscal-year 2013, which began July 1.
Nearly half of FY2013 revenue — about $894.2 million — in the operating budget is projected to come from fares. The balance will be generated by a combination of commercial revenue ($109.8 million), capital transfers ($363 million), and state operating assistance, as well as other state and federal reimbursements ($536.9 million), NJ Transit officials said in a prepared statement.
“Thanks to a stable mixture of state, federal and other funding sources, as well as NJ Transit’s commitment to operate more efficiently, we are able to put forth an operating budget that will continue to hold the line on fares for the third consecutive fiscal year,” said Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit Chairman James Simpson.
The operating budget’s increase of one-half of 1 percent represents the agency’s second-lowest budget bump in the past 15 years, said NJ Transit Executive Director James Weinstein.
About 57 percent of the operating budget will be spent on labor and fringe benefits, which have decreased by $19 million compared with FY2012, agency officials said. Other significant expenses in the new budget include contracted services, fuel and power.
The budget also reflects an estimated $13.2 million increase in passenger revenue, the result of “modest projected growth” due to an improving economy, NJ Transit officials said.
The FY2013 capital program will continue to prioritize infrastructure investments to maintain a state of good repair, as well as enhance reliability and safety, they said. The program includes an ongoing fleet modernization effort, including the continued procurement of more 400 multi-level rail cars and more than 50 electric and dual-power locomotives.
About $79 million worth of rail infrastructure state-of-good-repair projects will be pursued, including the expenditure of $56 million for track and bridge improvements, such as the renewal of the Rockaway River Bridge on the Boonton Line, and the rehabilitation of the Leland Avenue Roosevelt Avenue bridges on the Raritan Valley Line. A total of $13 million will advance electric traction and signal improvements.
Meanwhile rail-car and locomotive improvements will be supported by $88 million in funding, continuing the agency’s effort to replace aging, single-level cars with higher-capacity, multi-level cars. And about $16 million in capital funding will cover station improvements.