Garden State legislators urged to replenish fund for road, bridge projects

 Tom Bracken, chairman of Forward New Jersey, and Anthony Antanasio, the executive director of the Utility and Transportation Contractors Association, urge lawmakers to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund. (Phil Gregory/for WHYY)

Tom Bracken, chairman of Forward New Jersey, and Anthony Antanasio, the executive director of the Utility and Transportation Contractors Association, urge lawmakers to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund. (Phil Gregory/for WHYY)

Advocates are urging New Jersey lawmakers to come up with a way to replenish the fund that pays for road and bridge projects.

The Transportation Trust Fund will run out of money in June unless an agreement is reached. said Tom Bracken, chairman of Forward New Jersey, a partnership of business organizations.

“This deplorable situation we have is impacting our economy, it’s impacting the safety of every individual we have in the state every day,” he said Monday, testifying before a state Senate committee. “It’s really very bad that we have been talking about this for a year, and there’s been no action taken.”

An accident last week on the Turnpike brought travel to a halt, Bracken said, showing the vulnerability of the state’s infrastructure. Without action to replenish the Trust Fund, he said, the state’s ability to compete economically will worsen.

Concerns that more fuel-efficient cars would mean less revenue from a potential gas-tax increase should not delay action on the Transportation Trust Fund, the executive director of the Utility and Transportation Contractors Association told lawmakers.

“Right now that’s not the issue. Down the road it might be an issue, but let’s get down the road,” Anthony Antanasio said. “Let’s get something going right now so we have something on the table that we can start with … the flexibility factor will kick in, and we’ll deal with those in the future.”

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