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Sweeney delivers Christie new gas tax plan to end N.J. road project shutdown

Wednesday, July 13, 2016   (0 Comments)
Share | 07/13/16

Gov. Chris Christie and state Senate President Stephen Sweeney met privately Tuesday in an attempt to broker a deal to fund transportation projects and bring an end to a statewide construction freeze. Sweeney presented Christie with a new proposal for replenishing the now-expired and soon-to-be-broke Transportation Trust Fund, according to a spokesman for the governor. "A proposal was provided and it is still under review," spokesman Brian Murray told NJ Advance Media. He declined to detail the proposal.

Sweeney said Monday he would meet with Christie this week to present "a couple" of alternatives. But given that the Senate president has described the governor's plan as an irresponsible blow to the budget, it is unlikely to match Christie's tax cut. Christie has ordered a weeklong suspension of $3.5 billion in nonessential construction projects amid the standoff, though federally funded work can continue.  Lawmakers, municipal leaders and interest groups have warned that with the political conventions nearing, there is little time for the Legislature to reach a compromise, and the shutdown is costing towns and counties money.

The Department of Transportation estimates all road, bridge and rail funding "will be encumbered by early-to-mid-August," Communications Director Steve Schapiro said. Much of the money still available is needed to pay existing bills, while NJDOT and NJ Transit need to hold onto about $20 million for emergency work.


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