KEARNY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said New Jersey will meet an end of the year deadline to install positive train control safety equipment.
Watch: Gov. Phil Murphy’s Positive Train Control Announcement
“I am proud to announce that installation of positive train control in the required 282 locomotives and cab cars and wayside installations along 326 miles of track is now done,” Murphy said. “Where we were at only 12 percent toward meeting the year-end requirement when our administration came into office 11 months ago yesterday, today we are at 100 percent.”
Murphy touted the achievement, saying it took years too long to advance PTC implementation under the previous administration.
“Twelve percent completion in the almost nine years – in the almost nine years since Congress enacted the mandate requiring PTC be installed. I think ‘dragged’ may be too charitable a verb. Commuter safety took a back seat to cronyism. Service and reliability were sacrificed for frankly no good reason. That’s the legacy we inherited,” Murphy said.
The move will bring New Jersey into compliance with federally mandated requirements.
“What this announcement means to customers is that NJ TRANSIT can now focus its energies on improving communications and conditions and on on-time reliability and service,” Murphy said. “There is no time for anyone to rest on any laurels.”
Murphy said the goal is “better customer-oriented service.”
“I will not let up on this for one second,” he said.
Murphy said that even though the PTC equipment has installed, there is still more work to be done before the system is fully operational by Dec. 31. Testing of the system is still underway, officials said, and the deadline for testing to be completed is Dec. 2020.
“I think it’s fair to say there’s not a magic moment. There isn’t tomorrow morning at 8 o’clock are you going to have it dramatically different. This is going to be an incremental, step-by-step in the right direction, and I’m going to stay on this like a hawk,” Murphy said.
Murphy also announced a new Vice President and General Manager of Rail, Ray Kenny. His position is subject to board approval. Kenny previously spent 40 years with the Long Island Rail Road.
Previously, transportation officials in New Jersey have said commuters should expect their rides to improve in 2019.
NJ TRANSIT recently announced a new customer experience unit that will send push notifications to customers and new kiosks at stations to keep commuters informed about service changes in real time.
Murphy has said it has been a Herculean effort to upgrade service after years of underfunding.