NJT needs to focus its attention on the NEC/NYC tunnel issue, where most of their revenue comes from, and which is hurting the most.
While expanding service west to Phillipsburg would be a great incentive for business and home building, I fear that, what would happen is that NJT would start a project, builders would invest, and people would move in. Then, after NJT realizes that they have far overspent their budget yet again, there would be no rail service, and those now living in the new communities would be forced to use their cars, and further clog the highways.
A far worse outcome would be that builders invest, but no one moves in - thus bankrupting the builders, and putting enormous strain on lenders.
NJ really needs to get its act together when it comes to mass transit. We need a plan that will work, and attract investors - and then come to fruition. That may be asking for too much though.
Perhaps there is a better chance of getting service to Phillipsburg from Scranton. With the fracking industry growing in the Scranton area, and Phillipsburg within commuting distance, rail service might be lucrative, perhaps for a private, rather than a government supported enterprise.