Bill Will Also Ensure Continuation of Vital Projects & Shield Property Taxpayers from Shouldering Costs for Governor’s Shutdown
An Assembly panel on Thursday advanced legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Elizabeth Maher Muoio to ensure the continuation of vital transportation projects and protect local governments from costs incurred by delays as a result of Gov. Christie’s initial executive order (210) issued in June shutting down transportation projects until the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) crisis is resolved.
“Local governments are not to blame for the lack of a TTF plan, yet they could ultimately be on the hook for the potential cost overruns resulting from the Governor’s executive order. That means local property taxpayers, who fund the bulk of local government spending, will have to bear these costs,” stated Muoio (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “To add insult to injury, local governments willing to front the costs to ensure these projects get finished in a timely manner are being told they may not be reimbursed with the TTF funds promised to them.”
Muoio’s bill (A-4114) would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to compensate municipalities, counties, or other local government entities for delay damages on transportation projects supported through the local aid program, if those delay damages resulted from the shutdown of TTF projects pursuant to Executive Order No. 210.
The bill also permits a local government entity to use its own funds to continue or complete a transportation project that was halted as a result of the executive order. The bill prohibits DOT or any other executive branch agency from withholding, revoking, or otherwise canceling certain local aid due to the local government entity’s decision to use its funds to continue or complete the transportation project.
“This is not fair, and it is not in the best interest of our state. The Governor and the state must take responsibility for these costs, and for the commitments made to our local governments, and not foist the financial responsibility for this self-created ’emergency’ on the backs of our local governments and property taxpayers.”
The legislation was approved by the Assembly Transportation Committee.