TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Delays, cancellations, and dirty trains: What is being done to fix NJ TRANSIT?
That was the question lawmakers had for the man in charge of the troubled agency.
There was a fiery hearing in Trenton Friday where lawmakers held the CEO of NJ TRANSIT’s feet to the fire.
CBS2’s Meg Baker was there when elected officials made their demands.
“We expect you to be honest when you testify before this committee. I just remind you. We didn’t put anybody under oath, and I choose not to do that, but we want honest answers here,” said Steve Sweeney, State Senate President.
NJ TRANSIT CEO Kevin Corbett was a lone wolf, testifying in Trenton on why the agency still struggles to provide basic needs to commuters.
“Who is in charge at NJ TRANSIT to make sure there is reasonable cleanliness when a train leaves the yard or when a bus leaves a bus garage?” said St. Sen. Loretta Weinberg.
“We still have a lot of work to do before we’re delivering the service our customers expect and deserve,” Corbett said.
Six other NJ TRANSIT leaders were invited to testify Friday, but did not show up. This after some questioned patronage hires at the agency.
“When you’re hearing about some of these questionable hirings, I read the one article, that’s concerning. Because are these positions being filled by experts or by friends? When we give transit the money, you want every single penny that can go to the rider to improve transit, that’s the goal,” said Sweeney.
“These are top caliber people that I’d put up against any transit system,” Corbett said.
The goal of Friday’s hearing was to find solutions. Sweeney announced a plan for dedicated funding source for NJ TRANSIT.
“Dedicated funding is absolutely necessary. The agency needs to know what they’re going to have year after year so they can engage in long term planning so it can deliver the transportation that the state needs,” said transit expert Janna Chernetz.
Real time communication remains a challenge, highlighted a few weeks ago when thousands were stranded on trains at Penn Station after an electrical problem in one of the tunnels.
NJ TRANSIT says it is working on this alongside its rail partner Amtrak.