New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Tom Kean

Kean: NJ Transit, State Leaders Must Address Engineer Shortage ASAP to Keep Commuters Safe

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In light of recent reports, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean (R-Union, Somerset, Morris) is urging NJ Transit and State leaders to work together to immediately address the engineer shortage at the troubled agency.

Sen. Tom Kean is urging NJ Transit and State leaders to work together to immediately address ongoing problems at the troubled agency, including a catastrophic engineer shortage. (SenateNJ.com)

“More than a year ago, I spoke out publicly at our Legislative Oversight hearings on the need for NJ Transit, public sector unions, and State government leaders to work together to develop solutions to the catastrophic staffing shortages that continue to put thousands of commuters in harm’s way,” Senator Kean said. “It is no surprise that customers are facing a ‘summer of hell part two.’ We’ve known about staffing shortages for quite a while. What is surprising, is that next to nothing has been done to address this crisis.

“This is not a problem that NJ Transit can solve alone – clearly, there are additional steps previous administrations could have taken, and Governor Murphy must be much more aggressive on this front as well. Additionally, my Legislative colleagues and I have proposed a number solutions, such as allowing out-of-state residents to apply for State jobs. Being a rail engineer requires a very specific skill set. We need to expand the pool of potential hires immediately and the best way to do that is to pass legislation I sponsor that would allow us to consider out-of-state applicants.

“Despite what has been recently said in the public arena, New Jersey Republicans have been very vocal advocates for NJ Transit commuters. My colleagues and I have repeatedly advocated for projects such as the Gateway Tunnel, securing one-seat rides, and Port Authority Reform. To say that we have been silent on this issue is just not factual.

“We must come together to stand up for the thousands of commuters who cannot handle one more delay, one more tragedy, or one more missed train. It is time for us to cross party lines and solve the issues that plague NJ Transit, once and for all.

“I applaud all those who are taking action, and I look forward to monitoring the upcoming Legislative hearings. We will work hard to find solutions so that NJ Transit can once again become a transportation agency we are proud of.”

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