Digest: NJ Transit approves $2.6 billion operating budget for 2021

News Wire Digest third section for Oct. 22: Metrolink's Wiggins named Railway Woman of the Year; one dead in thefts from CSX auto shipping lot
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NJ Transit train at Elizabeth, N.J.
NJ Transit has approved a $2.6 billion operating budget, a 10% increase over the 2020 budget.
TRAINS: David Lassen

More Thursday midday rail news:

NJ Transit board approves $2.6 billion operating budget

NJ Transit’s board has approved a $2.6 billion operating budget for 2021 — a figure representing a 10% increase made possible by coronavirus relief funds. NorthJersey.com reports some $955 in federal CARES act funding will help offset $860 million in revenue losses from decreased ticket income (projected to be down 62%) and other sources of revenue. The agency will also continue its practice of moving capital funding into the operating budget, marking about $460 million to be so used this year. Still, the capital budget will be more than $1.4 billion for projects including the agency’s share of the Portal North Bridge and Raritan River Bridge, continued positive train control work, and new equipment purchases. NJ.com notes the budget avoids fare increases.

Metrolink's Wiggins named Railway Woman of the Year
The League of Railway Women has named Metrolink CEO Stephanie Wiggins as its 2020 Railway Woman of the Year. As the first woman and African American to lead Metrolink, Southern California's commuter rail service, Stephanie Wiggins has brought diversity and inclusion to all levels of the commuter rail agency, from the C-suite to train conductors,” organization president Amanda Trainor Patrick said in an announcement of the award. “Her leadership of Metrolink during an unprecedented pandemic with a focus on providing outstanding customer experience, improving system operations and modernizing business practices speaks volumes to her ongoing effort to improve the organization as a whole.” Trains Magazine featured an interview with Wiggins in its June 2019 Wiggins; additional material from that interview appeared on Trains News Wire and is available here and here.

One dead in thefts from CSX auto lot in Michigan
One person is reported dead as a result of a theft of several automobiles from a CSX Transportation vehicle transport lot in Huron Township, Mich. ClickOnDetroit.com reports Huron Township police received reports of a group of people stealing cars from the lot about 4 a.m. today; a driver lost control of one of the cars, which ended upside down in a pond on the property. Police are now working to identify the individual. Six cars were reported stolen; three have been recovered so far.

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