NEWARK — NJ Transit's executive director will step down in April.

Steven Santoro announced on Thursday he will leave the office he took in October 2016 after the fatal crash of an NJ Transit train at the Hoboken station. He had worked at the agency for 18 years and was assistant executive director of capital planning and projects before taking the top spot.

His time was marked by controversy over delays and crowded cars because of weather issues and maintenance on tracks and wires by Amtrak. This led to a summer-long, accelerated maintenance program at New York Penn Station, which was criticized by legislators and local government officials when weekday direct service into New York was severely curtailed.

Santoro also came under fire after the Hoboken crash because positive train controls had not been fully installed. In a recent filing to federal regulators, NJ Transit reported that through September, the braking system had only been fully installed in 25 of 440 locomotives, and none of 11 track segments, but Santoro said a December 2018 deadline would be met.

Gov.-elect Phil Murphy will select Santoro's successor. During his news conference at NJ Transit's Secaucus Junction station to introduce Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti as his choice to head the Department of Transportation, he called NJ Transit a "national disgrace" and vowed a major shakeup of the agency.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ.

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