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TTF shutdown could cost Monmouth almost $7M

Friday, January 27, 2017   (0 Comments)
Share | 01/17/17

Monmouth County is facing unexpected bills totaling nearly $7 million because of last summer's Transportation Trust Fund construction shutdown, the largest amount any county faces so far in the wake of the months-long standoff over increasing the gasoline tax. Contractors have filed seven contractual delay claims against Monmouth County, seeking to recoup $6.8 million in costs associated with stopping and starting work on road and bridge construction project.

Another 25 claims were filed in nine other counties statewide for projects impacted by the $3 billion road construction shutdown, according to the New Jersey Association of Counties. The total added costs for those claims is $2.3 million so far; however, five of the nine counties were not yet able to determine what their increased costs will be. Ocean County tallied more than $900,000 in delay costs.

The New Jersey Department of Transportation has told counties it will consider requests for TTF money to cover costs related to either the shutdown itself or to speed up work on the projects. But it's not clear if that means the state will pay all of the claims. Transportation officials said the claims will be considered on a "project-by-project basis." "It is not possible to speculate how long it may take to resolve claims or the amount until claims are actually submitted, reviewed, and settled," NJDOT spokesman Steve Schapiro said in an emailed statement.

The strategy of local officials is to seek federal and state grants for bridge projects because they are typically much more expensive than road-repaving projects. That helps the county stretch its budget for road repairs; it's also part of the reason Monmouth County's costs related to the TTF shutdown are higher than others. 

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