- New Jersey has maxed out its new road and bridge repair "credit card," leaving state taxpayers to face the fact that its $1 billion transportation trust fund might be getting ready to go belly up, according to the Associated Press.
- Gov. Chris Christie's administration issued the last allowable bonds in December in the amount of $627 billion.
- Democrats want to raise the gas tax, and potentially lower retirement or estate taxes, in order to generate some additional revenue for the trust fund, but Christie said any increases to the existing 14.5-cent gasoline tax must be counterbalanced with reductions from other places in the budget.
Christie, in an effort to resolve the state's transportation fund and public pension issues, has proposed cutting pension health benefits. However, that plan has received resistance from Democrats and unions, according to the AP.
Paul Sarlo, New Jersey state senator and budget committee chairman, told the AP that he is optimistic an agreement can be reached on a new plan.
Also revealed in this latest "state of the state" financial report is the fact that capital projects liabilities increased by $1.4 billion, or about 3.4%, with the majority of new debt coming from spending on schools.
A possible remedy for the funding problem could come if New Jersey is given some of the $2.1 billion in unused highway funds the Federal Highway Administration is expected to release soon. The unused funds were reserved for projects as far back as 10 years ago, but the 2016 omnibus bill requires that the funds be disbursed within 50 miles of the original project.