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NJ could lose federal transportation cash

Unless Congress comes up with a solution, the Federal Highway Trust Fund could go broke next month. That means funding to states like New Jersey could be cut off until the end of the federal fiscal year on Sept. 30. The chairman of the New Jersey Assembly Transportation Committee warns of dire consequences.

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Delay on the NJ Turnpike
NJ Turnpike (Eric Johnson, Townsquare Media NJ)

“There are no good outcomes from the insolvency of the Federal Highway Trust Fund,” said Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville). “The one bright spot in our transportation funding strategy had been receiving money from the federal government. That now looks like it is uncertain.”

Transportation projects that are already underway in the Garden State could be stalled if the fund goes belly up and planned projects could be shelved. Wisniewski is a longtime advocate of finding a recurring revenue stream to fund transportation. He has often talked about the need to increase the state’s gas tax.

“If the federal fund runs out of money, this amounts to both a state and national embarrassment that we are unable to put together the political will to raise sufficient funds. We have to get over our reflexive opposition to any intelligent discussion about raising revenue,” Wisniewski said.

Depending on the transportation project and how it is being used, New Jersey relies on the federal government for anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of its funding Wisniewski said.

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