Sweeney proposes doubling funds to NJ towns, counties for bridge and road repairs

The leader of New Jersey’s Senate wants counties and towns to get a larger share of money from the state fund that pays for road and bridge repairs.

Senate President Steve Sweeney, who said he is hoping for an agreement soon on replenishing the Transportation Trust Fund, proposed Thursday that the overall allocation to counties and towns be doubled to $400 million.

Hope Township Mayor Tim McDonough said that would make a real difference.

“This will mean better roads. It will mean better bridges,” McDonough said at a news Conference Thursday. “It will mean better infrastructure for all the towns in New Jersey and help the middle-class taxpayers as well.”

Until legislative leaders and Gov. Chris Christie work out the details for replenishing the fund, Sweeney said he will not comment on possible funding sources.

But asked if the fund could be restored without some sort of tax hike, Sweeney didn’t hesitate.

“No,” he said. “There’s no free ride here.”

Polls have shown that New Jersey voters oppose increasing the gas tax, one of the lowest in the country, to fund transportation projects.

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