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Muoio, Schaer, Coughlin, Benson, Holley, Wisniewski & Gusciora Bill to Protect Local Governments from Costs of Last Year’s TTF Shutdown Advanced by Senate Committee

(TRENTON) – Legislation Assembly Democrats Elizabeth Maher Muoio, Gary Schaer, Craig Coughlin, Daniel Benson, Jamel Holley, John Wisniewski and Reed Gusciora sponsored to ensure local governments don’t get hit with costs from Gov. Christie’s transportation project shutdown was released Monday by a Senate panel.
The bill (A-4114) requires the Department of Transportation 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 Christie’s shutdown of transportation projects pursuant to the governor’s June executive order.
The bill was approved by the Assembly in September and advanced Monday by the Senate Transportation Committee.
“Local governments were not to blame for the lack of a TTF plan, yet they could be on the hook for potential costs 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). “This is not fair, and it is not in the best interest of our state.”
“The unfortunate stalemate forced many vital projects to grind to a halt, senselessly punishing residents, inconveniencing motorists and endangering public safety. This legislation will rectify the matter,” said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic).
“The shutdown came during the prime construction season when the weather was great. If towns wanted to wisely take advantage of this window to make sure their projects get finished before winter, they should not be hit with unfair expenses,” said Coughlin (D-Middlesex).
“Local governments, and more importantly residents, should not be penalized for something outside their control,” said Benson (D-Mercer/Middlesex).
“Our aim is to protect taxpayers financially,” said Holley (D-Union).
“The governor’s decision to halt transportation projects effectively punished local governments and residents for his own inability. This bill will insulate taxpayers from that misguided decision,” said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex).
“It’s not fair to foist the financial responsibility for the governor’s order on the backs of our local governments and property taxpayers. The governor and the state must take responsibility for these costs and the commitments,” said Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon).