It’s now August and few legislative days remain before the start of the State Legislature’s summer recess. What should have been a quick fix at the beginning of July (or during the first six months of the year) is now an ongoing stalemate between the Legislature and the Governor’s Office on whose solution is the best for New Jersey.
All parties agree that the 23-cent per gallon gas tax increase is what the State Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) needs to adequately address the state’s transportation needs. Yet, New Jersey now finds itself at the outset of a fourth week of work stoppages since Governor Christie (R-NJ) executive order took effect on July 8.
The Governor and Senate President Stephen Sweeney have traded plans over the last few weeks but, ultimately have not come to an agreement on how to offset the 23-cent per gallon gas tax increase. After just shy of a month of inactivity at the state house due to a recess for the National Party Conventions, the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee returned to Trenton last Friday to take up Senator Sweeney’s (D-NJ) proposal, which has garnered support from Assembly Majority Leader Vincent Prieto (D-NJ), and pushed it through to the full chamber for a floor vote.
With a new opportunity to vote on this critical piece of legislation, the Senate has again postponed a vote due to the lack of support necessary to result in a veto override should Christie veto Sweeney’s bill. Projections seem to indicate that the chamber is just a few votes shy of the majority it needs but, all the same are waiting to shore up the count.
Estimates from early July indicated that the TTF had only $85 million left to pay for emergency repair work. Despite the fact that shovels have been put down at most projects throughout the state, the balance of the TTF is wearing thin and will soon run dry.
With just a single legislative day left before the legislature heads home for its August recess, we need you to send an email now and demand Legislators and the Governor find a compromise that will reopen the shuttered projects and give New Jersey the 21st century infrastructure system it deserves!