Christie stressing pension reform and transportation funding
As the New Jersey Legislature prepares to return to work, Gov. Chris Christie is fixing his sights on two major issues - pension and benefits reforms for public sector workers and finding a dedicated funding source for the Transportation Trust Fund.
"Dealing with pension and benefits is going to be important, and it's a long-term project. It's not something that's going to happen in one or two months," Christie said.
The governor said he realizes pension and benefits reforms will require a lot of discussion in Trenton, but it has to be done. "It's something that we can't ignore because it will first crowd out any other type of investments the state wants to make in important projects around the state, and it will then ultimately bankrupt the state," Christie said.
A commission that is looking at the state's pension and benefits system plans to make recommendations for reforms in the coming months, according to Christie.
Pension and benefits reforms aren't the only thing on the governor's mind though. He also said the Transportation Trust Fund, the pot of money New Jersey uses for transportation projects and repairs, needs to be dealt with. In recent years, the state has borrowed millions to keep the TTF afloat, something that many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree can no longer happen.
"We also have to work on our transportation capital plan and start working on issues surrounding that - and continue to make sure that we take care of the roads and bridges in New Jersey," Christie said.
When asked whether he has ideas about funding the TTF that don't involve raising the gas tax, the governor remained mum. "I have lots of thoughts but none that I'm willing to share at the moment."