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State to investigate NJ Transit following Hoboken crash

October 7, 2016

The state will launch an investigation into NJ Transit after a series of accidents and budget crises that culminated in a fatal train accident last week in Hoboken, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto said Friday.

The probe, to be led by State Auditor Stephen Eells, will look into NJ Transit’s safety record, budget problems and its interactions with federal safety regulators, said Assemblyman John McKeon, D-Morris, who asked for the investigation.

“We need to make sure NJ Transit is spending its money to make sure their ridership is safe,” said Prieto, D-Secaucus.

The investigation will focus first on safety at NJ Transit, said McKeon, who is leading the Assembly’s effort on the issue. In addition to NJ Transit’s own recent spate of accidents, including the train accident last week in Hoboken and two fatal bus crashes over the summer, the probe will explore the relationship between NJ Transit and the Federal Railroad Administration, McKeon said.

The federal agency launched its own investigation of NJ Transit in June over safety issues, The Associated Press reported, and issued a number of violations against the agency. NJ Transit was forced to pay a fine, and federal safety experts continue to monitor the agency.

Train riders, taxpayers and lawmakers did not know about the federal probe until after the Hoboken crash, and McKeon said he wants to know why.

“Why weren’t the feds transparent?” McKeon said. “Or maybe they were [transparent], and the governor’s office has been aware of it, but they have kept it under cover. We need to know that.”

The probe will also look into NJ Transit’s finances and leadership.

Email: maag@northjersey.com

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