Wednesday, March 03, 2010

NJ Transit enters emergency spending freeze, cuts jobs

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NJ Transit will cut 200 jobs and apply an emergency spending freeze in an attempt to fill a $300 million budget gap. Executive salaries will be reduced by five percent and contributions to employee 401(k) retirement accounts will be cut by a third, The Star-Ledger reported.  

Although the reductions will save more than $30 million, the agency is expected to announce service cuts and fare hikes next week, which could start as soon as May and could be increased by 20 to 30 percent. The state is also dealing with its own $2.2 billion budget gap and may withhold close to $33 million in subsidies from the agency.

The 200 union and non-union layoffs represent around two percent of the 10,500-person workforce at NJ Transit, the nation's third-largest public transit system. It is the deepest one-year workforce reduction in the agency's 30-year history.

NJ Transit will hold a series of public meetings and information sessions around the state later this month. They are scheduled for 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. March 25 at the Passaic County Community College Theater in Paterson, NJ Transit headquarters in Newark, the Trenton Transit Center and the Monmouth County Library in Manalapan; from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. March 26 at the Frank R. Lautenberg Rail Station in Secaucus, Camden City Hall, Morristown Town Hall, Long Branch Middle School auditorium and Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York; and from 1 to 4 p.m. March 27 at Bergen County Freeholders public meeting room in Hackensack and the Atlantic City Rail Terminal.

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