Amid TTF Stalemate Says: ‘This is our best option at this point.’
(TRENTON) – Amid the continued Transportation Trust Fund stalemate, Assemblyman John Wisniewski on Friday announced he’s introduced legislation that would allow the state to borrow $1.6 billion both this and next year to allow transportation work to continue, put laborers back to work and ensure public safety.
The bill (A-4186) provides the Transportation Trust Fund Authority with bonding authorization of $1.6 billion for this fiscal year and $1.6 billion for next fiscal year, for $3.2 billion in total borrowing capacity. This allows for an annual transportation capital program of $1.6 billion annually, as has been the case since 2007.
“Borrowing money is not my preference, but unfortunately we have no choice to do so while we wait for the next governor, who unlike our current one will hopefully be a rational person who puts the public interest above politics,” said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), who chairs the Assembly transportation committee. “I’ve long advocated for a responsible transportation funding, but we’ve waited too long for an agreement and I’ve opposed the plans that have been proposed. New Jersey needs a transportation funding plan, and the current situation cannot continue. This is our best option at this point.”
Wisniewski noted he has supported a gas tax increase to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund for years, often when he was the only member of the Legislature doing so, and held hearings throughout the state highlighting the need for reliable transportation funding.
“Transportation is this state’s lifeblood,” Wisniewski said. “As a key state along the Northeast Corridor, located between major cities and home to major businesses, airports and ports, we need a reliable transportation network if we’re going to have a strong economy. It’s ludicrous that we’ve gone nearly three months without a transportation funding plan, and appalling that we’ve put our economy at risk and impacted the employment of many hard-working New Jerseyans. This plans provides an immediate short-term solution to get our state back on track. It’s the most reasonable approach at this point.”