Christie denies starving NJ Transit of funds

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Gov. Chris Christie is denying accusations that he is withholding funds from New Jersey Transit after it was announced the agency would have to use money from its capital fund to pay for day-to-day operations.

The $500 million in question is typically earmarked for maintenance and improvements. NJ Transit has had to take money from the capital fund for the last few years. Christie says that this is OK since the money is interchangeable.

“Every administration across the nation does exactly the same thing. This is typical,” the governor said. “In addition, we've increased, over the last seven years, the operating budget of New Jersey Transit absent the taking of any capital funds by 55 percent.”

$40 million from the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund goes to NJ Transit, but some critics say that they wonder if there needs to be a higher state subsidy for the agency.

NJ Transit came under federal investigation last year due to an alarming number of safety violations. There were 183 violations between 2011 and 2015. 

Some lawmakers says that the safety is compromised by NJ Transit using too much money to run daily operations. 

Christie says that the money from the transportation fund this year will go towards bolstering safety for NJ Transit.

“Remember, when I got here, there had not been a fare increase in over 5 years, and we had to implement those things just to get New Jersey Transit to balance its books,” Christie said.”

Recent rail accidents have caused NJ Transit, along with Amtrak to come under fire. Amtrak is currently undergoing a major Penn Station renovation project which is impacting NJ Transit service.

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