His constituents are complaining about the state’s crumbling transit system. His own party wants to strip him of gubernatorial powers. The soccer team he owns is living in dire conditions, and one of his sons has been in trouble with the law.
What’s a newly elected governor with no experience in elected office to do? He takes a vacation far, far away.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy raised eyebrows last week as he embarked on a swanky 11-day trip to Italy, where he owns a $7 million home he bought during his 23-year stint at Goldman Sachs.
The trip comes just six months after Murphy — a Democrat and former diplomat under President Barack Obama — was elected to the top job in the state.
The governor’s office initially declined the reveal where Murphy was going for his holiday, but NJ.com solved the mystery and reported that Italy was the destination. The state’s taxpayers will pick up the tab for protecting the governor while he’s on vacation, with the tab reaching as much as $100,000.
Trouble is, when Murphy returns, New Jersey’s problems will still be there waiting for him. Here’s a look at some of them.
Despite the governor’s promises in February to ease overcrowding and service issues on New Jersey’s transit system by adding extra rail cars, commuters are complaining that not much progress has been made to actually alleviate the problem.
The plan to add new cars was short-lived. New Jersey leased 10 rail cars from the Maryland Transit Administration to alleviate the overcrowding, but returned them just eight weeks later when the lease ended.
“If my Uber bill this summer is any measure of success, improvement would not be the term I would use.”
– New Jersey commuter Niklaus Gunter
“What relief plans? I haven’t seen any relief,” one commuter told NJ.com.
“If my Uber bill this summer is any measure of success, improvement would not be the term I would use,” commuter Niklaus Gunter seconded. (Users of NJ Transit often wind up paying for cab or Uber/Lyft rides when their trains and buses fail to show up as scheduled.)
For what it’s worth, the NJ Tranist system appears to continue to crumble, with nearly a dozen trains getting canceled on Tuesday morning alone, infuriating commuters. NJ Transit at first offered no explanation, but later vaguely said the installation and testing of a rail safety system called Positive Train Control (PTC) and lack of staff were the reasons for cancellations.
“NJ Transit has taken steps to address these issues by recruiting and training additional locomotive engineers. We anticipate a class graduating within the next couple of weeks that will add nine engineers to the roster,” the statement from NJ Transit reads.
“In addition, we have increased the number of current classes from two to four, running concurrently with staggered graduation dates, to continue the qualification of new engineers,” it added.