New Jersey road construction is still on hold and thousands are out of work while the state's legislative leaders and Governor Chris Christie disagree.
The shutdown ordered by Christie in July to ration the state's dwindling transportation fund has put thousands of workers out of work. Senate President Stephen Sweeney said the stalemate over the state's gasoline tax could drag on until after the November election.
In an attempt to end the standoff, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto called for a summit meeting yesterday where the two sides will meet eye-to-eye to resolve the NJ transportation funding crisis.
"It's clear to me at this point that the only way forward is for the governor and the legislative leaders from both parties to get together inside the same room and hash this out once and for all," Prieto said in a statement. "No one is going to enjoy the solution to this crisis, but New Jersey cannot go without transportation funding. It's not an option. It's time for a TTF summit."
"Everyone is going to have to put ego and politics aside, quit casting blame, and get to work on finding a solution that can become law," Prieto said.
Christie wants a 23-cent gas tax increase with an enhanced retirement tax exemption and a 1 percent sales tax decrease.
Sweeney wants a 23-cent gas tax increase, a $3,000 exemption for veterans, and eventual phase out of the estate tax.
Sweeney and Prieto originally agreed to seek the required three-quarter majorities in the Senate and Assembly needed to override Christie's expected veto, but neither leader has been able to find the votes. Prieto said Wednesday that the override strategy doesn't appear to be viable and that a summit would encourage leaders to come up with a new plan.
The stalemate prompted Sweeney to put off posting legislation to place a proposed constitutional amendment guaranteeing the state make prescribed pension payments on the November election ballot.