TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy once called New Jersey Transit a national disgrace.
On Tuesday, he unveiled his plan to fix it.
Murphy’s first budget proposal as governor includes $242 million for NJ TRANSIT improvements.
CBS2’s Reena Roy heard reaction from riders at Penn Station.
“I think it’s just awful – New Jersey Transit is awful,” one man said. “NJ TRANSIT is the worst, period.
“There’s been times when I’ve left the city late, I should be home in 25 minutes or so, and it takes over an hour,” said a woman.
“When it’s bad, it gets real bad,” another commuter added.
But things could be looking up, Roy reported.
“We will restore the funding that NJ TRANSIT needs to once again be a reliable and respected service,” Murphy said Tuesday.
The governor promised to nearly triple funding for the public transportation system, allocating an additional $242 million to support rail and bus operations and to hire more staff.
“The prior administration slashed NJ TRANSIT funding by 90 percent,” he said. “And we know where that got us – waiting for too many trains and buses that never came.”
Murphy also blamed his predecessor, former Gov. Chris Christie, for the crumbling infrastructure, saying a critical tunnel under the Hudson River would have been open soon to greatly improve service if Christie hadn’t cancelled it.
Seton Hall political science professor Matthew Hale said the new tunnel, which also needs federal funding, is key.
“The goal has to be: How do we get the most trains on the track as fast as possible? And that takes money, it takes time and it takes effort,” he told Roy. “I do think that Phil Murphy is going to pay more attention to it than Chris Christie did.”
Many hope the new governor will be the light at the end of the tunnel – a new one, that is, Roy reported.
“We need some help. We need somebody to do something,” one man said. “We need another tunnel. That’s the bottom line.”
“I’m paying the fare every day, so I’d like to see the service,” said a woman.
Back in January, Murphy appointed a new executive director for NJ TRANSIT who has already begun a comprehensive review of how money has been spent, or misspent, in the past. He’ll use that information to chart a new direction forward.