Legislators in both chambers worked in a bipartisan manner to address the looming insolvency of New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) just before the July 1st deadline. The TTF is the account from which the state pays for maintenance, repairs and construction for transportation infrastructure.
As introduced by Senators Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen) and Steve Oroho (R-Sussex), and by Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson), the bills would increase the gasoline tax by 23 cents per gallon, and impose an approximately 13 cents per gallon tax on jet fuel. To help ease the price at the pump the General Assembly also approved a number of tax offsets. Among them are the discontinuation of the New Jersey estate tax, greater tax exemptions for retirement income and low-income workers, and a new tax deduction for contributions to charities.
On Monday, a midnight-hour deal was struck between the Assembly and Governor Christie’s office that would also reduce the state’s sales tax by 1% to provide further taxpayer savings. The Assembly remained in session until 1:30am when a 54-22 vote was achieved with 10 Republicans voting in favor of the bill. It’s now the Senate’s turn to take action and June 30 is the last day for them to act. Take a moment to contact your State Senator and encourage them to support the Assembly’s bill.
The 2016 Report Card for New Jersey’s Infrastructure’s roads, bridges, and transit grades of D+, D+ and D-, respectively. Among the most alarming statistics about transportation infrastructure found in the report is that 42% of New Jersey’s roadways are deficient, which means over 16,000 miles of roads are rough, distressed or cracked. Equally glaring is the state of New Jersey’s bridges. One in 11 are categorized as “structurally deficient,” and over 40% of all New Jersey bridges are expected to soon require improvements or complete replacement.
Nationally, inefficient infrastructure is costing every household $9 a day. However, if every family instead invested an additional $3 a day per household, we could close the infrastructure investment gap in 10 years. This will take action on the federal, state, and local levels. Fixing the Transportation Trust Fund with a long-term solution will not only help raise the grades given by this year’s Report Card but, also put money back into the wallets of New Jersey families.