Doria Statement On Transportation Trust Fund Approval

TRENTON – Senator Joseph V. Doria, a prime sponsor of legislation to refund the State’s Transportation Trust Fund and ensure more oversight in spending, issued the following statement after the bill received final legislative approval in the Senate today by a vote of 25-13:

“New Jersey’s roadways are the State’s vital arteries, allowing the life’s blood of commerce to flow freely and allow our citizens to travel between work and home with relative ease.

“As a commuter state, the importance of the roadway infrastructure cannot be overemphasized. However, years of neglect on the financial trust to keep our roads running smoothly have taken their toll.

“Without immediate action, the Transportation Trust Fund is set to expire this summer, and funds to improve and maintain our State’s roads would be entirely consumed by debt payments.

“However, given the economic realities of Governor Corzine’s tough proposed budget, we had to ensure that New Jersey drivers weren’t socked with the cost to replenish the funds.

“Forcing New Jersey taxpayers to bear the burden, not just for this year’s budget, but also for years of neglect with our State’s Transportation Trust Fund, would be wrong at this time. We cannot heap economic burden on our taxpayers in times of crisis.

“By issuing bonds to replenish the Trust, we are spreading out the costs for projects that will benefit New Jersey drivers for years to come.

“We are also giving taxpayers this year a reprieve, while we decide how best to dedicate funding without adding to the already-high cost of living in New Jersey.

“And we are putting in place necessary protections to ensure that the Trust is operated within reasonable economic parameters, and not ransacked as a source for politically-popular, yet economically impractical, road improvements.

“This bill is far from being the State’s final solution to our growing problems financing the State’s transportation needs. We will continue working to find the best possible solution which provides a stable Transportation Trust Fund without forcing the mistakes of the past onto the backs of drivers in New Jersey. But this bill ensures that, while we tackle many other pressing issues regarding New Jersey’s budget, New Jersey’s roads, and its drivers, are not punished.”