As he presses ahead to fix and revitalize NJ Transit, Gov. Phil Murphy has nominated Kevin Corbett to become the agency's executive director.

Corbett, currently an executive at AECOM, a transportation infrastructure company, also serves on the executive committee of the Regional Plan Association, a transportation think tank.

He also helped to rebuild lower Manhattan after the 9/11 terror attacks.

During a news conference at the New Brunswick train station, Murphy struck a familiar chord, saying that turning around NJ Transit, an agency he recently described as a "national disgrace," will be one of the toughest jobs.

Governor Murphy. David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ
Governor Murphy. David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ

NJ Transit has been plagued with numerous delays, breakdowns, cancellations and communications glitches over the past few years.

“I’ve heard stories of commuters left stranded on a station platform or in a bus kiosk for a ride that never came, or came too late. I frankly have experienced it myself,” he said.

Murphy said given New Jersey’s location and density, “you’d think that the one thing we would have gotten right would be commuter rail and bus.”

He then said starting today, success at NJ Transit will be measured by actual improvements, not simply treading water and not getting worse.

“Starting today we will no longer look at NJ Transit within a frame as merely being a collection of trains and buses, but rather as a broader and integral part of our state’s economic future, and the means through which we can build stronger and fairer communities.”

But improving NJ Transit won’t be easy.

“There are years of overlooked issues to account for, but with the right leadership we can yank the system back from the brink.”

Murphy said he and his top transportation leaders will not accept a continuation of the status quo.

When the governor was asked to share his ideas on some specific changes that he feels are most important at NJ Transit, he said two important steps have been taken already: an audit and new leadership.

The newly named commissioner of the state Department of Transportation, Diane Scaccetti, said once the audit is complete, things will come into focus.

“That’s important to us in order to then finally make plans to start correcting that path, and as the governor said, that’s not something that happens overnight.”

Scaccetti said she’s met with the senior leadership team at NJ Transit and they have formulated some initial suggestions they will soon be presenting to the governor, including addressing train size and capacity.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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