JERSEY CITY – Today, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez joined labor and transportation advocates to warn of the potential results if Congress fails to re-authorize the Surface Transportation Program next month. The federal program, which provides funding for road, bridge, and transportation projects, will expire on Sept. 30
Menendez (D-NJ) expressed concern that Republicans will use the same tactics they did with the federal debt ceiling and an FAA funding bill to try to force the Democrat-controlled Senate to agree to a 35 percent cut in surface transportation funding. If the surface transportation bill is not extended on Sept. 30 the federal government would stop reimbursing states for transportation spending, and the senator said that all major projects would halt and 1.5 million workers’ jobs would be in jeopardy.
“Infrastructure in dire need of repair like the Pulaski Skyway behind us as well as numerous New Jersey roadways in need of maintenance should not be used as leverage for an agenda that will not only endanger drivers and pedestrians; it will endanger thousands of jobs in New Jersey,” said Menendez. “Extending transportation funding is so vital to states it has rarely encountered major opposition in the past. American jobs should be our number one priority and the highway and transit programs are proven job creators.”
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unveiled a six-year federal highway and transit reauthorization proposal that represents a 35 percent reduction in funding. That cut would threaten 600,000 transportation jobs including 18,000 in New Jersey, Menendez said.
“New Jersey has some of the oldest and most heavily trafficked infrastructure in the country that needs to be repaired, maintained, upgraded and improved. Nearly half of New Jersey’s transportation funding comes from federal sources. To cut federal transportation investment by a third could bring the state’s economy to a grinding halt.” said Ya-Ting Liu, federal advocate for Tri-State Transportation Campaign.
In New Jersey, federal funding cuts will threaten the purchase of buses in Camden and Gloucester counties, the Carteret Ferry Terminal project and the entire ferry program, and the South Amboy Intermodal Center, as well as New Jersey’s bikeways, waterfront projects, river improvements and our Safe Routes to School Program, according to Menendez.
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