Thursday, April 13, 2017

Who decides how TTF billions will be spent in New Jersey?

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John Reitmeyer writes in NJ Spotlight:

Senate President rejects Republican senator’s claim that new commission could politicize how projects are selected

Stephen Sweeney
Senate President Stephen Sweeney speaks during a news conference in Linden yesterday to announce state funding for a long-planned road project.
After last year’s renewal of the Transportation Trust Fund, there’s now $2 billion in state dollars to spend on infrastructure improvements every year in New Jersey. But that has also raised the question of exactly who decides which projects deserve top priority — the governor and his administration’s transportation officials or a special four-person commission that’s been championed by lawmakers?
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A measure that’s expected to make it out of the Legislature in the coming weeks will ensure the new capital-project approval commission has the final say, though not until a year from now.
The passage of what’s being called the “TTF cleanup bill” will also make sure that a planned $2 billion in spending on infrastructure improvements during the state fiscal year that begins in early July can go forward even though the new commission has yet to be assembled.
And despite complaints from some lawmakers that the new commission could politicize New Jersey’s transportation-funding process and even be unconstitutional, Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) said he remains committed to establishing the new format. He also disputed claims that the new selection method could be unconstitutional.

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