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Governor’s Plan Would Borrow Money from Bonding, Turnpike Authority Tolls, and Port Authority Tolls

(TRENTON) — Responding to the plan Gov. Chris Christie unveiled Thursday to keep New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) solvent for another five years, Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Chairman John S. Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) issued the following statement:

“When Governor Christie cancelled the second trans-Hudson rail tunnel — the ARC tunnel project — many of us in New Jersey, myself included, feared the worst.

“We feared that he would use the money from the canceled rail program to help keep the TTF afloat for a few more years.

“The plan the governor proposed today, however, goes even beyond our worst fears. The governor doesn’t just kick the can down the road, he punts it there.

“The governor’s plan to keep the TTF afloat calls for issuing billions of dollars in new bonded debt, all without voter approval.

“The governor’s plan to keep the TTF afloat calls for using Turnpike Authority money and increasing tolls on the Turnpike. The toll increase was supposed to go to pay for the ARC tunnel, which was supposed to take cars off our roadways. Now, motorists on the Parkway and Turnpike will instead be forced to pay to repair roads they never use.

“The governor’s plan to keep the TTF afloat calls for using Port Authority money that had been earmarked for the ARC project, which relies on the cooperation of New York’s governor and will likely result in higher tolls at Port Authority bridges, tunnels and transit.

“All this from the man who, just over a year ago, called borrowing money to keep the TTF solvent ‘unconscionable.’

“The ARC tunnel project was supposed to be a lifeline for the region’s rail network. Now, Gov. Christie is using the project’s funding as a lifeline to keep his national conservative credentials intact.

“If this is the governor’s idea of turning Trenton upside down, color me underwhelmed.

“New Jersey residents — and especially motorists — deserve better.”