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NJ Governor Orders Road Projects Shut Down

Gas tax standoff between Christie and Senate

July 01, 2016

Governor Chris Christie declared a state of emergency near midnight yesterday and ordered all ongoing work paid for by the state's Transportation Trust Fund to stop. Christie instructed the New Jersey DOT and NJ Transit to submit plans for an "immediate and orderly shutdown of all ongoing work" by the end of day Saturday.

All of New Jersey's state and municipal roadwork supported by the trust fund will halt and only resume if deemed essential for 'the protection of the health, safety and welfare' of the public.

Christie's order came after the New Jersey Senate refused to take action on his offer to raise the gasoline tax by 23 cents a gallon in exchange for a 1-cent reduction in the sales tax.

Christie placed blame on the Senate and slammed its leadership for refusing to go along with his proposal in favor of their own, which would raise the gas tax by the same amount but reduce different taxes.

"The Senate's inaction ignored the benefits the package would bring to the overburdened taxpayers of New Jersey," Christie said in a statement. "The Senate's inaction also ignored New Jersey's necessary transportation infrastructure improvements, as well as the hundreds of private-sector workers who came to Trenton today with their jobs hanging in the balance."

The Assembly approved Christie's plan early Tuesday after he and Speaker Vincent Prieto struck a compromise. 

New Jersey's transportation commissioner estimated in April the trust fund, which pays for road, bridge and rail projects across the state, would have about $85 million left at the end of June, enough to keep construction going through early August.  Christie's order will prioritize that remaining money for essential projects, though federally funded projects could continue. 

Read more at NJ.com

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