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State Audit Shows NJ Transit Remains On Life Support As Unreliability, Other Problems Continue

SEACAUCUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A new report lends fresh numbers to how some NJ Transit commuters must feel.

The state auditor is highlighting unreliability and more.

Late, canceled, stuck -- just how bad is NJ Transit still? A state audit shows it remains on life support.

There were 18,000 delayed trains between 2017 and May 2019 due to circumstances that auditors say could have been prevented by the agency.

"The two main reasons for that are lack of engineers and old rolling stock," said Nick Sifuentes, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

RELATED STORY: NJ TRANSIT Riders Slam Agency, Say Their Buses Are Late At Least 3 Times A Week In New Survey

Riders who spoke to CBS2's Meg Baker at Secaucus Junction say they don't need an audit to tell them how bad things are because they've been living it.

"I'm not happy with NJ Transit at all," one commuter said.

"I've experienced a lot of delays. Every now and then, the train stops. I think the most I've waited on trains was over an hour, just being stuck in the middle of tracks," Frank Vanoni, of Secaucus, said.

The report also points out that 47 bridges with bad components were left off the priority repair list and the agency is at risk of failing to meet the federally mandated Dec. 31 deadline to install positive train control safety measures.

Transit experts say solving these problems comes down to dollars.

"NJ Transit doesn't have the funding that it needs from the state to get the job done, so legislators need to stop under-funding NJ Transit, which is something that's been going on for decades," Sifuentes said.

CBS2 tried to ask Gov. Phil Murphy about the audit Friday.

"No, I'm not going to do that now. We will have availability on Monday," he said.

In a statement, Murphy points out that his administration has been rebuilding NJ Transit from the ground up after years of under-funding, saying it's improved with a 35% reduction in train cancellations from 2018-2019.

Failure to meet the PTC deadline could result in fines of $27,000 a day if the agency keeps running trains.


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