Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop says that if elected governor, NJ Transit would run the PATH, not the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, as part of his statewide transportation plan.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Mobility and transportation access impact every New Jersey resident whether they’re just starting their career and family or have retired and want to take full advantage of our state’s location and assets,” Fulop said after today’s press conference at Andco.
“Transportation is one of the most basic and essential building blocks of government and it’s for that reason we are leading with our transportation plan today.”
His proposal had 10 main points that had a clear focus on reforming NJ Transit and the Port Authority.
This included creating a dedicated funding source for NJ Transit by ensuring that the state’s largest corporations are contributing their fair share and expanding Congestion Pricing on motorists arriving from New York and dedicating revenue to PATH and Light Rail improvements.
“Congestion pricing, in certain instances, has a benefit to and New Jersey’s approach up until now has been counterproductive to what the overall goal is of encouraging mass transit and environmentally conscious policy,” he said during today’s over hour-long discussion with members of the New Jersey press corps.
Fulop, in his third term as the mayor of Jersey City, also called for a dedicated NJ Transit funding source by extending the Corporation Business Tax surcharge that has recently sunset, in hopes of staving off a nearly $1 billion budget deficit by Fiscal Year 2026.
He also mentioned reforming the Port Authority and leveraging the veto of board minutes more aggressively, implementing On Demand Micro Transit systems in the state’s ten most densely populated areas, and refocusing state funds away from highway expansion towards Light Rail and other mass transit projects.
“Under the Port Authority, there has been a steady decrease in overall PATH investment. By allowing NJ Transit to manage PATH there will be the opportunity to increase weekend and off-peak service,” Fulop’s transportation plan says.
“This could also lead to more investment in new stations, like one for the Marion section of Jersey City, which should be a priority.”
He didn’t put a timeline or cost on how long the process of putting the PATH under NJ Transit would take, but emphasized that the Port Authority is reactive and opposed to proactive, as well as that they consistently do not prioritize the PATH since it loses money.
“I think it’s a conversation between the governor of New York, and the governor of New Jersey, and the chairman of the Port Authority, and the executive director there, but it makes sense that the PATH would be here and domicile here,” Fulop said following a question from HCV.
“And what’s currently happening with a steady deterioration of weekend service, overnight service, and regular service is not gonna be helpful to northern New Jersey in any way. So I think that it is a winner for everybody in that, the details are really what’s important, but conceptually, it is something that we would pursue and it’s certainly attainable.”
When another reporter noted that this transition would add an additional $500 million to NJ Transit’s debt, the mayor indicated that the revenue from congestion pricing would be dedicated to offsetting some of these costs.
“The same way that the MTA is using the congestion pricing model in New York to offset some of their expenses, New Jersey should be doing the same instead of just going and complaining to the courts, we should be doing the same and looking to solve the issues here.”
Spokespeople from NJ Transit and the Port Authority did not immediately return emails seeking comment this morning.
In April of last year, Fulop, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, and U.S. Senator Bob Menendez came out in favor of a Marion Street PATH station, as HCV first reported, with a December 2021 study indicating the infrastructure costs would be just under $15 million.
While Fulop said that he had not yet outlined how the project would come to fruition, he said the Marion Street PATH station would be a priority, as would be investing in other stations in urban areas.
He also mentioned reforming the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, calling for a 30-minute turnaround for all customer services, expanding weekday service from 4:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. (and from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. on weekends), and proposing a 10 percent fee reduction to expanded online services.
The mayor, currently the only declared candidate for governor, added that this was the first of his eight-part plan to #FixNJ, with further installments to be revealed in the upcoming weeks, including his affordable housing plan next month.
“I have a young family and I love New Jersey but I’m as concerned as anyone else about what our state will look like in 20 years if we aren’t thoughtful and willing to take bold steps,” he added.
“When I ran for mayor I was very deliberate about how I would change the city for the better. It’s hard to argue we haven’t been successful in Jersey City and voters made me the first three term elected mayor here in more than 70 years because they see and feel the progress — now I’m ready to bring that same leadership to New Jersey.”
On the topic of the four A&C Bus routes on Jersey City’s West Side set to cease operations on Halloween, Fulop said they are awaiting a proposal from NJ Transit for now.