Christie, Sweeney to meet on resolving impasse that’s stalling road and bridge construction

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney (right)says he has proposals to present to Gov. Chris Christie for resolving the Transportation Trust Fund impasse that is stalling road and bridge construction. (AP file photo)

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney (right)says he has proposals to present to Gov. Chris Christie for resolving the Transportation Trust Fund impasse that is stalling road and bridge construction. (AP file photo)

A New Jersey legislative leader says he’ll meet with Gov. Chris Christie later this week in an attempt to break the deadlock on replenishing the Transportation Trust Fund and restarting road and bridge projects throughout the state.

Senate President Steve Sweeney said Monday that he has some new proposals to present to the governor.

“We’re going to offer a couple of compromises to the governor,” said Sweeney, D-Gloucester. “Hopefully, it’s something that might pique his interest where he’ll offer something back.”

Tom Bracken, the chairman of Forward New Jersey, a coalition of labor and commerce groups, said that’s a positive step.

“The three players who would have to get on the same page are the Senate president, the Assembly speaker and the governor,” said Bracken. “And if two of the three are meeting, maybe they can bring in the third and sit down and talk and hammer out a deal.”

Bracken, who said the stalemate is dragging down perceptions of the state, said it’s time for government leaders to prioritize resolving the political stalemate.

“We’re trying to compete competitively from a business standpoint. So people who are considering staying in this state, people who might consider relocating in the state, they’re looking at this,” said Bracken. “That’s not a positive. We need to get it resolved.”

John Donnadio, executive director of the New Jersey Association of Counties, said stalling transportation projects because of the funding stalemate will be costly for local governments.

“We will have to incur potential delay claims, potential remobilization costs,” he said. “These are real expenses that counties and municipalities are going to have to address.  I don’t believe we’re going to see any help from the state on these costs, and they can equal anywhere between 15 to 20 to 25 percent of a project.”

Hope Township Mayor Tim McDonough said property taxes will rise if counties and towns don’t get state Trust Fund money to repair roads and bridges.

“Who’s going to pay for that infrastructure? It’s going to be counties and municipalities,” McDonough said. “If you want to see tax increases in this state, there you go, that’s where you’ll see it.”

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