William Crosbie is the new executive director of New Jersey Transit.

New Jersey Transit named a former Amtrak executive to lead the nation's third-busiest public transportation system.

Its board of directors unanimously voted Wednesday to appoint William Crosbie as the agency's executive director. Crosbie, who previously spent more than seven years as Amtrak's chief operating officer, officially begins his role on April 23.

He succeeds Dennis J. Martin, who has served as the agency's interim executive director since last December after Veronique Hakim departed to become president of New York City Transit.

"I am anxious to roll up my sleeves and stand shoulder to shoulder with the men and women of NJ TRANSIT to address the service, safety, equipment and facility needs of our customers and our infrastructure," Crosbie said in a statement.

Crosbie arrives at NJ Transit from international transportation engineering consulting firm SYSTRA USA, where he was president, CEO and regional director. He left Amtrak in 2010 after the COO position was eliminated. His stint at Amtrak also included a short time as interim president in 2008.

Crosbie takes over NJ Transit with the agency facing a $57 million budget gap and trying to figure out how to pay for its share of the planned Gateway Tunnel rail project connecting New Jersey to Manhattan. Gov. Chris Christie said in a March 30 speech he won't support a fare hike to plug the deficit. Last year the agency raises fares 9% to plug a $56 million budget deficit.

"Bill Crosbie brings a depth of background in operations, transportation, engineering, finance, and security to New Jersey Transit that is perfectly suited to address the needs facing the agency at this important time," said Richard T. Hammer, who is acting New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit board chairman.

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