Yesterday, New Jersey Transit‘s board approved a $2 billion operating budget and $1.2 billion capital program for fiscal-year 2015, which began on July 1.

The operating budget assumes an $8 million, or 1 percent, gain in passenger revenue, based on employment projections and ridership trends. It also holds fares steady for the fifth consecutive year.

The capital program includes $76 million to upgrade the Northeast Corridor, as part of NJ Transit’s 10-year, $1 billion Northeast Corridor investment program. The installment will be used to upgrade the North Brunswick Station and County Yard, and build the Mid-Line Loop, a new flyover designed to improve corridor operations and increase operational efficiencies.

NJ Transit also plans to spend $46 million on station improvements, including $12 million to make the Perth Amboy and Lyndhurst stations accessible to passengers with disabilities, $9 million on an Elizabeth Station reconstruction project and $5 million on Newark Penn Station improvements. 

In addition, the capital program includes $104 million for rolling stock improvements, as well as funds for technology and security upgrades, and rail and bus infrastructure improvements.

Meanwhile, the board also authorized an additional $54 million under an existing contract with Twenty-First Century Rail Corp. to expand 35 light-rail vehicles. The agency will work with the firm and Kinkisharyo International L.L.C. — the original manufacturer of the Hudson-Bergen light-rail fleet — to extend 25 Hudson-Bergen and 10 Newark light-rail line vehicles. 

The work calls for adding two sections to the existing light-rail vehicles, increasing the number of sections from three to five. The additional sections will increase car length by 37 feet and expand seating capacity from 68 to 102, as well as provide additional standing room. 

The vehicle extenders will cost about one-third less than purchasing new vehicles, according to a press release. The retrofitted cars, which are scheduled to be placed into revenue service beginning in late 2015, will help address growing ridership demand on the Hudson-Bergen light-rail line.

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