No fare hikes, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy reassures commuters

TRENTON, New Jersey (WABC) -- Hundreds of thousands of commuters who use New Jersey's much-maligned public transit system every day won't have to pay more for it, at least for the next year.

A day after announcing a budget that includes more money for New Jersey Transit, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday that fares won't be raised for the new fiscal year beginning July 1.

Murphy spoke at NJ Transit's monthly board meeting. He said some of the additional money budgeted for the agency will be used to hire more personnel and ensure that a federally mandated safety system is installed by a Dec. 31 deadline.

NJ Transit has raised fares five times since 2002, the last time in 2015 when it hiked rates by an average of 9 percent. Since then, the system has faced mounting complaints from commuters, particularly train riders, about regular delays and equipment problems.

Murphy didn't directly address future fare hikes that could go into effect beginning in 2020. Before he left office in January, Republican former Gov. Chris Christie outlined a plan for increases in 2020, 2028 and 2038 to help pay for a planned rail tunnel into New York.

That project is in the crosshairs of a dispute between Trump administration officials and politicians in New York and New Jersey over how much the federal government will pay toward the estimated $13 billion project.

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