Skip to Content
Streetsblog California home
Streetsblog California home
Log In
Streetsblog USA

Deadbeat Chris Christie Sticks It to New Jersey Transit Riders, Again

This is Chris Christie's idea of
This is Chris Christie's idea of "shared sacrifice." Graph: Tri-State Transportation Campaign
false

As expected, the New Jersey Transit board of directors has approved a 9 percent fare hike and service cuts, again making transit riders the victims of Governor Chris Christie's budget shell games.

New Jersey’s gas tax is the second lowest in the U.S., and has not seen an increase since 1988. Christie has refused to raise the tax, despite indications of public support, as the state racks up billions in debt. Five years ago Christie killed the long-planned Hudson River ARC transit tunnel so he could fund highways without raising the gas tax.

On the other hand, Christie has no qualms with increasing costs for transit users, who last took a hit in 2010, when fares went up 25 percent and 10 percent, respectively, for bus and train riders.

Writing for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s Mobilizing the Region blog, Janna Chernetz reports from yesterday's vote to raise fares again, at a meeting where board members talked around the budget disaster caused by Christie and state legislators.

Despite pleas from advocates and commuters who oppose the proposal, each and every board member voted to approve the hikes and cuts, validating their vote by saying “their hands were tied” and that they “had no choice.” Vice Chairman Bruce Meisel explained that the board is “operating within the framework of the cards they were dealt” as he justified his affirmative vote. Meisel, posing a rehearsed hypothetical to NJ Transit Executive Director Ronnie Hakim, wondered what would happen if the proposal was voted down. Hakim’s response was substantial service cuts with layoffs approaching 1,000.

Absent from the board’s explanation was that the “cards dealt” came from Trenton. There was no mention of the governor’s continued failure to address his state’s transportation troubles. No mention of the legislature’s inaction in helping to prevent the fare increase during budget negotiations. No mention of the decreased direct state subsidy, once as high as $300 million in 2005 and now only $33 million, which landed NJ Transit in this mess to begin with.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Urbanist says pedestrian-oriented commercial zoning in Seattle is working, and Streets.mn finds that -- surprise! -- new transit projects make a lot more sense than buying everyone a car.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog California

SFMTA Approves Merchant-Driven, ‘Holistic’ Plan for West Portal

SFMTA board again fails in its role to put transit, safety, and city wide interests above parochial politics

July 17, 2024

Study: More Evidence That Safer Streets Help Local Business

...and more insight into why that belief is so hard to quash.

July 17, 2024

Wednesday’s Headlines

Is the solution to an unsafe crosswalk to just remove it? National data about pedestrian deaths has huge gaps; CA's grid passed the heat wave test; More

July 17, 2024

Don’t Believe the Hydrogen Train Hype

Calling hydrogen-powered trains "zero emission" is misleading at best - and even if they were, they lost the race to be "first" a long time ago

July 16, 2024

Upcoming CicLAvia Maps: August in the Hollywoods, September in Lincoln Heights, and More

Mark your calendars: August 18 in West Hollywood through East Hollywood, September 15 in Lincoln Heights, October 13 in the Heart of L.A., and December 8 in the Valley

July 16, 2024
See all posts