With Lautenberg’s passing, N.J.’s federal clout likely to ebb

     With Lautenberg's passing, N.J.'s federal clout likely to ebb (Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo, file)

    With Lautenberg's passing, N.J.'s federal clout likely to ebb (Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo, file)

    The death of New Jersey’s senior U.S. senator could make it more difficult for the state to get federal transportation funds.

    Frank Lautenberg was a big advocate for transit projects during his nearly three decades in the Senate.

    Rider University political science professor Ben Dworkin says the loss of Lautenberg’s influence in Washington will have a huge impact on New Jersey’s political clout.

    “Regardless of how talented the new person will be, they simply won’t have the seniority to be in the room and having the influence that the state needs when big pots of money are being divided up,” Dworkin.

    U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez may be able to get New Jersey additional federal transportation funding, according to senior planner Steven Higashide with the Tri State Transportation Campaign.

    Higashide says the state’s long-term economic health depends on having robust public transit.

    Gov. Chris Christie has appointed New Jersey’s Attorney General Jeff Chiesa to the Senate seat temporarily until a special election Oct. 16 to choose Lautenberg’s successor.

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