NJ governor proposes $400M spending boost for state infrastructure
- As part of a budget speech this week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie proposed an extra $400 million to help repair state infrastructure, according to NJ.com.
- While Christie said the money would target roads and bridges, as well as go toward new "technology enhancements," he did not indicate where the money would come from or exactly which projects would benefit from the spending program.
- Transportation experts told NJ.com that Christie's intention to allocate the money in the next 100 days suggested that it was coming from the 2017 budget. The 2018 budget contains more than $1.3 billion for roads and bridges and $677 million for mass transit.
Despite the lack of specifics, construction groups see Christie's attention to infrastructure spending as a welcome departure from New Jersey's infrastructure debacle last summer.
After agreeing on a 23-cent gas-tax increase to recharge the state's Transportation Trust Fund, Christie and state lawmakers continued to fight over what kind of budgetary countermeasures they would implement to balance out that tax hike. Christie insisted on a 1% cut to the state sales tax, an action Democrats would not approve, so Christie declared the TTF empty and halted work on approximately $3.5 billion worth of highway projects.
In October, Democrats and Republicans finally came to an agreement on a scaled-down sales tax reduction. During the shutdown, Christie gave the green light to some emergency road and bridge projects, but by the time a full work agenda resumed, construction companies and workers had already suffered major financial losses during what was supposed to be their time of peak operations in advance of winter months, when highway work largely shuts down due to weather.
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