‘The service has been unacceptable.’ Gov. Murphy holds summit with Amtrak, NJ Transit leaders about delays, suspensions

The goal of the summit was to figure out what needs to be done to stop the constant delays and suspensions.

Chris Keating

Jun 27, 2024, 10:38 PM

Updated 21 days ago

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Gov. Phil Murphy sat down with the leaders of Amtrak and New Jersey Transit on Thursday in a conference room across the street from Newark Penn Station.
The goal of the summit was to figure out what needs to be done to stop the constant delays and suspensions for rail riders who need to get in and out of New York City. The main focus was about finding problems and making repairs before they lead to delays.
“The service has been unacceptable, that is a unanimous opinion,” Murphy said after the meeting.
Going forward, Amtrak and New Jersey Transit will conduct heightened inspections and repairs of overhead wires, plus improved maintenance of signals, switches and the tracks themselves.
It has been overhead wires falling, plus trains stuck in New York Penn Station, signal issues and even a brush fire in Secaucus that have been causing suspensions of service and delays in the last few weeks.
Union workers call for corporate transit tax in hopes to urgently fund NJ Transit
The result is rail commuters having to switch trains in Hoboken or use the PATH at Newark Penn, only to get to work late.
Tony Coscia, of Amtrak, and Kevin Corbett, of NJ Transit, were both taking responsibility.
“We are moving heaven and earth to determine the precise cause of that and to address it,” Coscia said.
Corbett acknowledged the frustrations of the riders.
“A passenger, when they’re paying a fare to go A to B, they just want to get home…They don’t care whose fault it is,” Corbett said.
These delays are taking place as a 15% fare hike is set to start on Monday, July 1.
Murphy was asked if the fare increase should be stopped. He said that it is not his call, and stated that it would be up to the NJ Transit Board. That fare hike is needed to fill a $106 million budget gap.
Legislators like Rep. Mike Sherrill want it stopped.
“This is a textbook example of inconsistent planning and short-term thinking that has been far too typical in Trenton and Washington,” Sherrill stated. “Families deserve a break - not a fare hike.”
The governor is proposing a 2.5 % business tax on companies that earn more than $10 million a year in revenue to help fund transit. But that needs approval from the state Legislature.
Finally, there are also long-term projects in progress that will help rail riders - namely the Portal North Bridge which is under reconstruction.
“If one-third of the catenary that causes these disruptions potentially is going to be replaced as part of the Portal Bridge, that clearly should give people hope and reason to believe that we are getting to a better place,” Coscia said.
This project is expected to be completed in a year and a half.


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