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New Jersey Transit CEO Kevin Corbett

NJ Transit CEO won’t rule out fare increases next year

Corbett suggests increases would follow service improvements

By David Wildstein, September 21 2019 3:32 pm

New Jersey Transit boss Kevin Corbett refused to rule out a fare increase next year.

“There’s a political element in that, obviously, when you do fare increases or not,” Corbett said during an interview on NJTV airing this weekend.  “Some of the advocates believe there is a sort of an index fare increase regularly is better than going for a number of years without it and then getting hit with a big increase.”

Corbett said there is no increase this year – something Gov. Phil Murphy has already promised – and hinted that future fare increases could be tied to noticeable improvements in transit service.

“If you’re going to be asking for more money, you’d better be able to at least show them they’re getting something for their money, so we’re focused on delivering good service,” Corbett said.

If New Jersey Transit fares do go up, it would likely be in 2020 and not in the year Murphy seeks re-election to a second term.

The side-stepping of the fare increase question could become an issue in several key State Assembly races this fall.

There are 24 train stations run by New Jersey Transit in 20 municipalities in the 21st and 25th. districts where Democrats have a strong chance of picking up Assembly seats in the 2019 mid-term election.

Corbett also said he’s willing to consider giving senior citizens discounts for monthly passes but suggested that he might also raise the qualifying age beyond 62.

He said it “gets into the issue a bit like social security – is it 65? Is it 67?”

“It was based on a limit from a different era,” Corbett said.

NJ Transit’ plan to build a new power plant in Kearny fueled by natural gas could put Corbett on a collision course with Murphy’s political agenda.

The plant would become one of the top 15 sources of greenhouse gases in New Jersey, NJTV reporter Brenda Flanagan said.

“The alternative if power on the northeast corridor is down,” Corbett said, “that drives people to cars, which would then be far worse from a carbon footprint perspective.”

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