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Election 2013: New Jersey gubernatorial candidates on transportation
By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor

New Jersey voters will cast ballots Nov. 5 for governor. Voters will decide whether to re-elect Gov. Chris Christie or elect challenger Barbara Buono.

Included below are what the candidates from the two main parties have said and done about various transportation issues.

Buono, a Democrat, is the state Senate Majority Leader. She is critical of her Republican opponent’s decision in 2010 to halt the ARC tunnel project.

The Access to the Region’s Core commuter rail project called for linking New Jersey and midtown Manhattan. Christie declined to move forward, citing projected overruns as high as $5.3 billion beyond the $8.6 billion tunnel price tag.

Buono says the governor’s decision cost New Jersey $3 billion in federal funds and thousands of construction jobs that were tied to the project.

Buono’s campaign site describes her as “a strong supporter” of the project and she “understands the value of investing in our infrastructure to make our workers and our businesses more competitive.”

Christie has acted on many bills of interest to truckers since he took office in early 2010.

A year ago, he vetoed a bill to require the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey to create greater transparency and accountability. The change was sought in response to the 2011 implementation of the first phase of a multiphase toll increase on bridges and tunnels for cars and trucks.

Instead of limiting the focus to one agency, Christie urged lawmakers to extend the regulations to all multi-jurisdictional authorities.

Also in 2012, the governor signed into law a bill to add to the list of police officers in the state authorized to inspect hazmat loads.

So far this year, Christie has signed a bill to stiffen punishment for cargo thieves. Specifically, truck theft now is a criminal offense, which includes incarceration.

Another new law authorizes corporate sponsorship on rest areas along the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway and other state-owned highways. Revenue raised from sponsorships would be used to help pay for road work.

Still awaiting a decision from the governor is a bill that would deem port truckers, including owner-operators going onto a port, to be employees.

Buono has pledged to increase funding for transportation work. She, like Christie, is opposed to increasing the state’s fuel tax. Instead, she would rather create banks where the private and public sector finance infrastructure projects.

The governor has relied on borrowing to pay for needed work.

Also on New Jersey’s November ballot are races for lieutenant governor, state Senate and state Assembly, as well as municipal elections. The U.S. Senate seat is also on ballots.

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