Transportation chief warns of drastic cuts if NJ fails to raise money for roads, bridges

 New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox has warned the Christie administration and state lawmakers that failing to raise revenues for road and bridge repairs and replacement will have dire consequences. (AP file photo)

New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox has warned the Christie administration and state lawmakers that failing to raise revenues for road and bridge repairs and replacement will have dire consequences. (AP file photo)

New Jersey’s fund for road and bridge repairs will be empty in a year if lawmakers and the governor don’t come up with a plan to replenish it, warned the chief of the state Department of Transportation.

Jamie Fox told the Senate Budget Committee Thursday the short-term funding plan worked out by the state treasurer to provide money for the Transportation Trust Fund is not ideal.

“July 1 of next year, we will have hit a wall, meaning we won’t be able to spend any additional money,” he said. “And then there will have to be drastic cuts:”

Fox urged continued discussions between the Christie administration and legislators on providing long-term funding for the state’s transportation needs.

“I cannot imagine that you will let the Transportation Trust Fund reach the point, and the administration reach the point, where the bank account actually hits zero,” he said.

Talks about raising revenue for the dwindling fund center on an increase in the state gas tax, now one of the lowest in the country.

But some lawmakers are reluctant to vote for increasing that levy with mid-term elections set for November.

A solution no later than a year from now is crucial so contractors and businesses can plan repair and replacement projects for deteriorating roads and bridges, Fox said.

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