Environment New Jersey
NJ Amalgamated Transit Union
NJ Sierra Club
The National Conference of Firemen & Oilers/District of 32BJ/SEIU
Tri-State Transportation Campaign

For immediate release:
March 25, 2010

Zoe Baldwin, Tri-State Transportation Campaign: (212) 268-7474, (609) 271-0778

Doug O’Malley, Environment NJ
( 917) 449-6812

Service Cuts, 25% Fare Hikes Hurt All New Jerseyans, Our Environment and Economy

A diverse group of advocates has joined forces to voice opposition to Governor Christie’s recent 11% slash to NJ Transit funding. This measure is devastating for transit riders as NJ Transit is now forced to increase fares 25% and implement system wide service cuts to address the deficit.  Over the past decade, growth on NJ Transit has increased at twice the rate of driving.  These cuts drive NJ’s economic and environmental progress backward by forcing more people to drive and creating increased hardship for those without cars who have no transportation alternatives. 

Balancing the state’s transportation budget woes on the backs of transit users, while drivers get a break, is fiscally irresponsible.  The 25% fare increase will mean that transit fares will have increased 68% since 2000, while the state gas tax has not increased since 1988. 

“NJ Transit service cuts and fare hikes have fallen, and will continue to fall, on the shoulders of working families unless a more sustainable, balanced and long-term funding solution is found. Investment in transit benefits all of us, so everyone loses when Trenton can’t muster the courage to do the right thing.” Said Zoe Baldwin, NJ Advocate for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

"Trains and buses are the greenest way to get around New Jersey -- but not if we can't afford the ticket," said Doug O'Malley, field director for Environment New Jersey. "Gov. Christie's historic transit fare hikes sends a clear message to train and bus commuters in New Jersey: you're not welcome here."

NJ Transit is one of the nation's largest statewide public transportation systems, providing more than 895,600 daily trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country and provides critical links between the major metropolitan area of New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.

“Operating a system like NJ Transit costs a lot of money,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the NJ Sierra Club, “and some things are worth paying for. Less traffic, a cleaner environment, and healthy communities are a sound investment. Everyone has a right to get around, but these cuts slash the quality of life for thousands of New Jerseyans.”

According to Dean Devita, General Chairman of the National Conference of Firemen & Oilers/District of 32BJ/SEIU, "Service cuts seem to be the flavor of the month in our country today.  Yet, the heartbeat of New Jersey is public transportation. Trains do not run on rails...they run on money."

“Fair hikes will disproportionately affect those who can least afford it and service cuts will leave stranded those seniors, children, and car-less individuals who have no transportation options other than public transit,” said Rebecca Alper, NJPIRG Program Associate. “In this economic recession, all New Jerseyans need reliable, affordable transit to get to work and to find work.”

John Costa, chairman of the NJ Amalgamated Transit Union said, “Every $1 billion invested in transit operations supports approximately 41,000 jobs. Cutting transit is the worst response to a recession that has already forced many New Jerseyans out of work.”