NJ Transit fares to increase to help pay for rail tunnel

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NEW BRUNSWICK -

Gov. Chris Christie announced Thursday that he and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo have come to an agreement on how to pay for the states’ portion of the Gateway Tunnel Project, and that plan will include a fare increase for New Jersey Transit riders.

New York and New Jersey will be responsible for paying $5.6 billion for the project, which will build a new rail tunnel between the two states to replace the current tunnel which is about 100 years old.

NJ Transit riders can expect to see the fare increase by 90 cents in 2020, by $1.70 in 2028 and by $2.20 in 2038.

News 12 New Jersey spoke to some Rutgers University students who will be commuting into Manhattan for work in the future, who say that they are not sure if they will be able to afford the increase. The 2020 increase will amount to an extra $40 per month.

“I’ll be in college in 2020 but trying to get a job in New York, so it’s going to be expensive and costly,” says Howell resident Sophia Iannelli.

Other NJ Transit riders say that the agency has been plagued by problems lately and the fare increase is not warranted.

“It’s really inefficient at times. Sometimes really late, no communication….sometimes I’m late for classes when I’m here, even if I come…early for example,” says Ashton Gunawan of Princeton.

Some of New Jersey’s lawmakers have called it a “back room deal.”

Lt. Gov.-elect Shelia Oliver says that the new administration may give the deal another look.

“I do not believe that New Jersey’s commuters can carry that type of increases…Gov.-elect Murphy, I am certain, will have concerns about that,” she says.

The federal government is expected to pay for the other half of the Gateway project, as per the 2015 agreement. But the Trump administration has not indicated if it will honor that plan.

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