New Jersey's new governor, Phil Murphy, on January 22 ordered a "full scale" audit of NJ Transit, an agency he has previously called a "national disgrace," saying "this agency must be boiled down to its essentials and put back together again." "Our goal must be a new New Jersey Transit," Murphy said at a press conference held at the Summit train station. The event was widely reported, including in the Star-Ledger by Brent Johnson and Larry Higgs (printed Jan. 23). To carry out his plans, Murphy will need a new executive director at NJT to replace incumbent Steve Santoro, who has tendered his resignation; on January 23, Murphy announced he planned to nominate Kevin Corbett, North American VP for AECOM, an infrastructure firm that had previously worked on NJT projects including the ARC trans-Hudson tunnel, canceled by former Gov. Chris Christie. Corbett was formally  nominated on January 30, according to reporting by Nick Corasaniti in the New York Times.  Corbett got kudos from Regional Planning Association executive director Tom Wright, who said that Corbett "has been a senior executive at the world's largest infrastructure firm for many years, and before that worked in the public sector -- including helping New York recover from 9/11 when he worked at the Empire State Development Corporation." "Kevin knows how to manage large institutions -- and how to run things on time.  It's a great selection." Corbett faces considerable problems, including a declining ridership: NJT rail trips decreased 2.3% in 2017, while bus trips fell by 3.4%. Corbett is no stranger to NJT, having commuted on NJT for more than 20 years. Of his commute last summer from his home in Mendham to Manhattan, Corbett said, "Every day we felt it was like fricking Dunkirk. Maybe your train got there, maybe it didn't."

The audit that Murphy plans at NJT includes reviewing the agency's finances, leadership, hiring practices, and culture; its relationship with Amtrak; and its lagging implementation of Positive Train Control. Murphy said he hoped to complete the audit quickly, perhaps within three months, saying "the public cannot be left waiting for answers." Murphy's nominee for state commissioner of transportation, Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, would oversee the audit, once she is confirmed by the State Senate. Murphy, who even before his inauguration had created controversy when his transition team demanded that top NJT officials offer their resignations, said "People are mad as heck.  And they deserve a better experience."