Software issues are being blamed for the latest delay by NJ Transit to implement a $302-million positive train control (PTC) system.

Parsons, the agency’s primary PTC contractor, reported that resolving system anomalies has pushed back by five months to next March. the start of revenue service testing. That will leave NJ Transit less than a year to complete hardware and software testing along its 326-mile network and to have its PTC safety plan approved by the Federal Railroad Administration.

NJ Transit barely met the agency’s Dec. 31, 2018, deadline for achieving specific PTC implementation goals, and the last-minute effort forced numerous train cancellations and service interruptions.

NJ Transit also announced it will seek proposals for a public-private approach, with funding from builders and private equity investors, to cope with new transport issues linked to the first-phase opening Oct. 25 of the long-gestating $5-billion American Dream mall and entertainment complex in East Rutherford, just west of New York City, which is estimated to attract up to 40 million annual customers when fully open later next year.

An existing rail shuttle from the Secaucus, N.J. station on the NJ Transit and Amtrak rail line to the nearby Meadowlands sports complex, has inadequate passenger and worker capacity and was largely funded by the NY/NJ Port Authority.

“Through this challenge, we’re exploring the possibility of a public-private partnership to move approximately 20,000 people per hour between Secaucus and MetLife stadium, which is about double our current maximum capacity on rail,” said NJ Transit CEO Kevin Corbett.

The agency could consider approaches ranging from a monorail similar to the Air Train at Newark-Liberty International Airport. a magnetic levitation train or aerial gondolas in a continuous loop for the seven-mile distance.

NJ will formaljy launch the competition at a Nov. 7 event at MetLife stadium, with more information available here.