(TRENTON) – Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-Mercer, Middlesex), chair of the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee, released the following statement in response to today’s testimony by the state’s transportation agency leaders before the Assembly Budget Committee:
“Transportation must be safe, reliable, accessible and equitable for all. The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented burdens for our transportation network. In the months ahead, we need to focus on what a post-COVID world will look like and how we can work together to make New Jersey’s transportation system a driving force in our public health and economic recovery.
“While this budget represents an improvement in moving away from NJTRANSIT’s total reliance on its capital budget to pay for operating expenses, it is still clear that a long-term strategy is needed to wean the agency off this practice. NJTRANSIT must identify long-term sustainable funding sources to ensure it can meet the goals outlined in its strategic plans.
“Commuters across New Jersey will be pleased to hear there are no expected fare increases for NJTRANSIT or toll increases on State highways planned in the coming year. This is welcome news for the tens of thousands of residents who use our transportation infrastructure daily to get to work, school and home.
“Our challenge will be determining how to best manage growing capital needs across transportation agencies while transitioning to clean energy and green infrastructure, particularly the transition to electric vehicles and buses.
“As chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee, I’m committed to ensuring this year’s State Budget emphasizes fiscal responsibility, sensible use of federal aid, and long-term sustainability for our transportation agencies.”