New Jersey Transit paid $182 million to Amtrak to make good on missed payments for use of the Northeast Corridor line, state officials said Wednesday.
NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett and Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy announced the settlement Wednesday at New York’s Penn Station alongside Amtrak CEO Tony Coscia.
The repayments stemmed from former Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to halt payments from March 2017 after several derailments led to headaches for commuters.
Murphy cast the agreement as a change in direction compared with his predecessor.
“After eight years of disinvestment in, and mismanagement of, NJTRANSIT, collaborative partnerships like the one we are announcing today will go a long way to restoring the agency to its former preeminence,” Murphy said in a statement.
Christie faulted Murphy for failing to mention that he oversaw the reauthorization of the state’s transportation trust fund.
“The money Governor Murphy is spending today on infrastructure was raised and authorized by the Christie Administration’s bi-partisan legislation to fund transportation needs,” Christie said in a statement.
The payments resumed in June 2018 under Murphy.
NJ Transit spokeswoman Nancy Snyder says the back-payments included $44.5 million in operating costs and $137.5 million in capital contributions.
Corbett says the railroad will pay $7 million monthly for use of the corridor going forward under a federal law calling for rail investment. Snyder added that that money would go toward capital projects while an addition $3 million a month would go toward operations.
The monthly fee was being negotiated under Christie, and NJ Transit hadn’t yet begun paying it.
Corbett said the funds would allow NJ Transit to work “collaboratively” with Amtrak and provide it a reliable stream of revenue. In return, he said, Amtrak would work to improve signal and wire issues that lead to delays.