New Jersey’s shutdown of transportation construction projects over a deadlock on renewing the Transportation Trust Fund is now in its eighth week, and there’s no end in sight.
Senate President Steve Sweeney said Wednesday a private meeting with Gov. Chris Christie failed to resolve their differences on what taxes to cut to offset a proposed gas tax increase to raise money for the fund that finances road and bridge repairs, as well as mass transit construction projects.
“We’re looking at numbers. We’re just trying to figure it out and I don’t know where we’re going to be,” said Sweeney, D-Gloucester. “Do I think it can go into November?
“Yeah, because it depends on what we can come together and agree on.”
Sweeney is hoping to meet with Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto next week.
“This really is about the future of the state of New Jersey. The governor said I should go explain to my friends in the building trades why they’re out of work,” Sweeney continued. “Well I’m explaining we’re not mortgaging the future for a quick fix. We’re trying to find a solution.”
Sweeney said he expects litigation between contractors and local governments over the costs of shutting down and — eventually — restarting the construction work.
Local governments should not be punished if they go ahead with some road projects despite the shutdown order, he said, especially if there are safety issues.