Monday, March 27, 2017

NJ Gov. Christie signs $400M transportation spending bill

Gov. Chris Christie signs the $400M transportation funding appropriation (
Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill Monday that will give New Jersey's Transportation Trust Fund immediate access to a $400 million supplemental appropriation for road and transit projects.
The bill, passed by the state Legislature last week in response to Christie’s recent call for more transportation funding this year, allocates $260 million for projects involving roads and bridges and $140 million for matters related to New Jersey Transit.
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The state Department of Transportation will have 100 days to decide which projects receive funding.
With the appropriation, the Transportation Trust Fund now has access to roughly $2 billion in spending for the current fiscal year.
Christie signed the bill Monday at LiUNA Local 172 in Trenton and emphasized that a bipartisan effort, particularly with Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-West Deptford) and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Secaucus), was needed to advance the measure forward.
“Everybody doesn't get everything they want, but everybody gets some of what they need,” Christie said.
The additional funding comes as a result of Christie’s deal with the Legislature last year to raise the state’s gas tax by 23 cents per gallon in an effort to replenish the then-depleted Transportation Trust Fund with an eight-year, $16 billion plan with matching federal dollars.
Christie said that, although he had given “his word” that he would address the Transportation Trust Fund, he guessed that many in the room Monday didn’t think he would move ahead with the gas tax hike.
“When I say I’m going to do something, I do it,” Christie said. “When I say I won't, I won't.”
Since then, Christie says, states like Alaska, Tennessee and Indiana have all considered proposals to increase their own gas taxes in order to fund infrastructure projects. And still, he maintains, nearby states like New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania continue to have higher-priced gas than New Jersey.
Christie added that his decision to tackle the Transportation Trust Fund last year will be particularly beneficial to whomever is set to replace him, following the state’s upcoming gubernatorial election later this year. Raising taxes, especially at the pump, is not a politically friendly strategy, no matter how pertinent, and there would be no guarantee that the next governor would agree to it, Christie said.
"I'm leaving, and you don't know what you're going to get next,” Christie said.

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