New Jersey Senate sends transportation oversight bill to governor, again

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 11/21/2013

A New Jersey bill that is intended to add transparency and oversight on state transportation spending is headed back to the governor’s desk.

The Senate voted 26-11 on Monday, Nov. 18, to send a bill to Gov. Chris Christie that would give the state Financial Policy Review Board additional oversight powers of the state Transportation Trust Fund. Assembly lawmakers already approved it.

The bill is nearly identical to 2012 legislation that the governor conditionally vetoed.

At the time, Christie said in a veto message that expansion of the board’s oversight responsibility is unnecessary “as the Department of Transportation engages in a constant, ongoing review of the program. And the Legislature reviews the program each year as part of the budget process.”

Sponsored by Sen. John Wisniewski, D-Middlesex, the bill would require the board to provide regular reports on revenues and spending for the state Transportation Trust Fund and other transportation agencies.

The bill would also increase the reporting requirements of the state’s Financial Policy Review Board for the trust fund. In addition, the board would be required to create a public website to post reports.

Christie, a Republican, previously noted that the requested information already is available online.

Wisniewski, chairman of the Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee, claims that the Republican governor is dipping into the transportation fund and tapping other independent authorities to pay transportation debts.

“The administration’s actions regarding transportation funding have made it stunningly apparent that we are in desperate need of the oversight that this legislation would provide,” Wisniewski said in a news release.

“The TTF is not the governor’s personal piggy bank to do with as he pleases, and this oversight legislation would ensure it is protected.”

The governor can sign the bill, veto it, or let it die without his signature.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Jersey, click here.

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