New Jersey Transit is planning debt refinancing and new borrowing to cover a $12 million budget hole created by revenue losses from falling 2016 ridership.
The agency's board of directors approved last week a refinancing of outstanding revenue refunding bonds issued in 2008 through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and NJ Transit grant anticipation notes sold in 2014. NJ Transit is also prepping $60 million in new bonds to cover capital projects for the next two years.
NJ Transit spokeswoman Nancy Snyder said the refinancing will enable the restructuring of older financial agreements to allow the purchasing of bus and rail equipment as well as cover operating revenue shortfalls stemming largely from declining ridership. The financing plan will also enable the implementation of safety initiatives that includes installing Positive Train Control systems by a December 2018 federal deadline.
The NJEDA sold roughly $342 million of bonds in 2008 to help refinance outstanding obligations issued to finance the South Jersey Light Rail Project. NJ Transit issued $381.8 million for its 2014 grant anticipation notes. The refinancing, which is expected to close in January, will also include bonds issued in 2004 and 2009 through New Jersey's Certificates of Participation program.
NJ Transit is the nation's third-busiest public transportation system. The agency raised fares 9% for the 2016 fiscal year to address a $56 million budget gap.