Committee Approves $1.3 Billion In Transportation Borrowing

TRENTON – The Joint Budget Oversight Committee today approved a request to issue $1.3 billion in bonds to fund transportation projects across the state as part of Gov. Chris Christie’s 5-year transportation capital plan.

The approval received bipartisan support from the committee.

“I am glad that members of both parties were able to break through the legislative gridlock that was preventing us from getting to work on making our transportation infrastructure safe,” said Senator Anthony Bucco (R-Morris). “Just as importantly, this funding will help create new jobs for many in the construction industry who have been hit especially hard by the down economy.”

“I support this, but with reservations,” said Assemblyman Lou Greenwald (D-Camden). “I am concerned about our borrowing and how much we’ll be paying years down the road.”

Jeff Tittel, the director of New Jersey’s Sierra Club, had similar concerns about borrowing and opposes the governor’s transportation capital plan. “This is transit planning at its worse with more borrowing and spending putting New Jersey deeper into debt,” he said. “This means we will be paying for projects today that will have to be replaced or repaved before the bonds are paid off.”

Tittel, who favors an increase in New Jersey’s gas tax, said “we need a stable funding source because of the amount of spending we need in New Jersey to fix our dilapidated roads, bridges, and mass transit systems.”

The environment advocate also favors cutting back on expansion projects and using “flex” or reversible lanes on the Turnpike and other major highways to save transportation dollars.

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