No gas tax deal? Christie issues executive order to fund road work projects
TRENTON — Frustrated by lawmakers’ inability to strike a deal to fund bridge and road projects, Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday signed an executive order that replenishes the Transportation Trust Fund with money from elsewhere in the state budget.
This is Christie’s second executive order this summer dealing with the Transportation Trust Fund, which is set to run out of money at the end of this month.
Lawmakers have been unable to negotiate a deal to finance the fund. Christie has endorsed a publicly unpopular proposal to raise money by hiking the gas tax while reducing the sales tax by a percent. The state Senate rejected that deal.
On June 30, Christie signed an executive order shutting down nearly 1,000 road projects after lawmakers failed to approve a funding bill.
Christie’s latest executive order continues the “state of emergency” and orders state officials to move money from the state’s general fund into the trust fund in order to pay for “projects that are determined to be absolutely essential for the protection of the health, safety, and welfare” or “are required to ensure the receipt of federal funding.”
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“No evident progress has been made by the Legislature to pass a single, viable bill to reauthorize the TTFA,” Christie said in a statement released early Wednesday evening.
“A well-maintained transportation infrastructure is essential to the operation of New Jersey's economy and the people who rely upon it in all aspects of their daily lives. The current situation will persist until the Senate and the General Assembly pass an acceptable TTFA funding bill. Until they do so, the state must use money from the General Fund for emergency road, bridge, and mass transportation work.”
A day earlier at a news conference Christie said a deal on the trust fund did not appear imminent.
Christie also downplayed concern about the work stoppage on road projects.
“The roads are fine and the fact of the matter is that you don’t hear regular folks complaining about this,” he said. “Editorial writers and politicians are talking about it more than others, so we’ll deal with it.”
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Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.