NJ Transit (NJT) was awarded $1.6 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The grant funds are to be allocated to maintaining and improving transit services for New Jersey residents and visitors as NJT continues to address pandemic-related challenges, including decreased ridership and staff shortages.
“NJ Transit has been vital to supporting our state’s pandemic response, offering continued and reliable service for our essential workers and residents who rely on public transportation to travel to work, vaccine appointments, and access essential services,” said Sen. Cory Booker while announcing the funding.
The funding followed a release of $1.06 billion in December 2021 for the New York-Newark urbanized area under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), as well as previous funding releases under the American Rescue Plan.
“Whether people are trying to get to work, go to the doctors, or buy groceries, public transportation is vital to communities across our state,” said Sen. Bob Menendez.
Retaining Employees, Maintaining Safety
Rep. Bill Pascrell highlighted the pivotal role NJT played for the regional economy, and argued transportation systems were necessary for safe and efficient transit.
“Today’s funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan will help us accomplish what we set out to achieve: preventing layoffs and protecting against the virus,” he said.
Staffing was a focus of the bill, with the intention of maintaining and preserving the 11,000 positions in the company, who serviced nearly 280 million trips in 2019. In 2020, NJT provided 206 million trips.
Murphy Looks at Bigger Picture
Equally as important in the eyes of lammakers is that the funding helps to secure rail service for customers who rely on NJT to get to work, thus keeping the economy going.
Gov. Phil Murphy positioned the upgrades as part of a larger infrastructure upgrade project within the state, like a $1 billion Water Infrastructure Investment Plan.
“These funds will go a long way toward allowing NJ Transit to continue to serve New Jersey commuters and will allow our Administration to make critical investments in infrastructure. We look forward to putting this funding to work for New Jerseyans,” he said.