Chris Christie's Transportation Record Is a Bigger Disaster Than Bridgegate

What a fiasco. Six years after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie killed the ARC transit tunnel under the Hudson so he could avoid raising the gas tax, the jig is up. The state has run out of transportation funding anyway.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

NJ’s Transportation Trust Fund dried up a month ago, bringing a halt to basic infrastructure projects all over the state. Raiding major transit projects, it turns out, is not a sustainable way to fund a transportation system.

But even now, with their backs against the wall, state legislative leaders and reputed Donald Trump manservant Christie are coming up empty, reports Janna Chernetz at Network blog Mobilizing the Region:

It’s been one month since the TTF dried up, and the Garden State is still without transportation funding — or even a foreseeable solution. The past six weeks have been rather rocky for the governor and the state’s legislative leaders:

  • June 23 – The Senate and Assembly TTF reauthorization bills are considered and passed out of committees.
  • June 28 – Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto changes the Assembly’s gas tax proposal in a secret midnight meeting with the governor. That version later passes the full Assembly.
  • June 30 – Senate President Stephen Sweeney refuses to advance the Assembly proposal, and the fiscal year ends without a resolution to TTF crisis. The TTF officially goes bankrupt, and Christie signs an executive order halting all TTF-funded projects.

  • July 22 – Sweeney and Prieto announce a joint plan to renew the TTF.
  • July 29 – The Senate Budget Committee considers and passes the Sweeney-Prieto revised plan.
  • August 1 – The Senate once again delays a vote on the TTF bill after failing to garner enough votes to guarantee a veto override.

Governor Christie has been — and remains — the biggest obstruction to a solution with his unmerited opposition to a gas tax increase that isn’t coupled with unrelated tax cuts. (Where was the call for tax cuts when NJ Transit voted to raise fares last summer?) And this irrational insistence on “tax fairness” has resulted in a complete stalemate in Trenton. It’s ironic really, because the purpose of the Transportation Trust Fund, when it was established in 1984, was to remove transportation from the political process.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Denver Urbanism makes the case for “transportation variety” in cities. Streets.mn reports that the departure of a suburban county from a regional transit organization puts plans for bus rapid transit in jeopardy. And Mobility Lab explains how Arlington County transportation engineers were treated to a tour of local bike infrastructure — an exercise everyone hopes will improve road design for cyclists.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Raiding major transit projects, it turns out, is not a sustainable way to fund a transportation system.”

    You mean borrowing against 100 percent future revenues to pay for ongoing expenses is not a sustainable way to fund a transportation system. Because that is what was going on before Christie, and what he continued.

    And what is proposed to happen now. There is no way they are going to raise taxes enough to pay for needs on an ongoing basis. So this same disaster will repeat as long as all future revenues are also encumbered even if they raise the tax now.

    And yet anyone who says this isn’t OK is shouted down. “Why are you screwing up our ability to get a deal by talking about the future?” They said in the past.

  • Eric McClure

    Another leading light of the GOP. SMDH.

  • Larry Littlefield

    No matter how bitter the “partisan divide” is, the low value of the future and the younger generations that will live in it is one area of common ground.

  • lost_fezil

    My sister’s friends who are NJ commuters go ballistic on social media at any mention of increased gas taxes. One guy rails against it while saying he drives over 30,000 miles a year. He wants someone else to pay for the roads that he hogs up.

  • neroden

    New Jersey continues to refuse to raise the gas tax. (Or the income tax either.) The psychology in that state is really quite extraordinary. It’s like they define themselves as being anti-urban, which is never a good thing. New York and Philadelphia are messed up, but New Jersey is something special.

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