NJ Transit settles back-payments with Amtrak for $182M

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New Jersey Transit says it has paid $182 million to Amtrak to make good on missed payments for use of the Northeast Corridor line.

NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced the settlement Wednesday at New York's Penn Station alongside Amtrak CEO Tony Coscia.

New York Penn Station will see some improvements under the settlement.

"These are the kind of advancements that will make a direct impact on the customer level and that matters,” said Corbett.

There will be a new Eighth Avenue entrance to Penn Station, a refreshed ticketed waiting room and a better “platform experience” for New Jersey commuters.

"A part of this agreement is that all the funding that we're now getting from New Jersey Transit…Amtrak is committed to investing every nickel of that money in New Jersey,” said Coscia.

Murphy blamed former Gov. Chris Christie’s administration for the backlog of payments.

"I wasn't in the seat, but I don't see any evidence that infrastructure and transportation was ever a priority in the Christie administration. No evidence at all,” the governor said.

But Christie said in a statement to News 12 New Jersey, "The money Gov. Murphy is spending today on infrastructure was raised and authorized by the Christie Administration's bi-partisan legislation to fund transportation needs. I have to assume he forgot those indisputable facts. No one in public office could possibly be that intentionally untruthful."

The payments resumed in June 2018.

"You know, partnerships are a two-way street, and there are places that we can be helpful to New Jersey Transit and where New Jersey Transit has rightfully demanded that we step up,” said Coscia.

NJ Transit spokeswoman Nancy Snyder says the back-payments included $44.5 million in operating costs and $137.5 million in capital contributions.

Corbett says the railroad will pay $7 million monthly for use of the corridor going forward under a federal law calling for rail investment.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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