Transportation officials testify at State House about state budget

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The heads of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, New Jersey Transit and Motor Vehicle Commission testified before a state Assembly Budget Committee Monday about the funding they expect to receive from Gov. Phil Murphy’s state budget.

DOT Commissioner Diane Gutierrez Scaccetti says that the department has been working to fix many of the potholes around the state. She says that it has been tough due to bad weather this spring.

“We just need to get into the good weather cycle and then we’ll be able to start the work that we do to mill and resurface,” Scaccetti says.

The commissioner, who was recently appointed by the governor, says that the DOT has been depleted after a nearly 10-year hiring freeze.

“I think they're tired. They lacked the right numbers, and they need those to continue on,” she says. “We're going to work to try to fill those gaps for them.”

NJ Transit executive director Kevin Corbett says that the agency is also lacking staff in key areas that impact customer service. But he says that his administration is making changes.

“I think [riders] already are starting to see a better experience,” he says.

NJ Transit just hired consulting firm North Highland to conduct a $1.3 million audit of the agency’s operations.

“I know we’ve seen a significant reduction in the number of trains that are one car short,” Corbett says.

Corbett says that NJ Transit is also working to meet standards for the Positive Train Control speed safety system, but it was not clear if the agency will meet this year's deadline.

The MVC commissioner addressed the federal government’s Real ID mandate. The deadline to comply is in October, but the MVC will file for a one-year extension.

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