Group says New Jersey's future includes 'transportation meltdown'

| 7/13/2005

The transportation infrastructure in New Jersey is less than a year away from a complete financial meltdown, an advocacy group announced on Monday, July 11.

The Regional Plan Association – a consortium of representatives from New Jersey, New York and Connecticut – has released a report that says New Jersey has until July 1, 2006, before the state’s transportation trust fund is empty.

According to the report, “Putting the Trust Back in the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund,” the New Jersey DOT and Transit departments will lose their main source of funding for construction and maintenance projects when the trust fund bottoms out. Without taking other action, $805 million from gas taxes, petroleum gross receipts taxes and part of an auto sales tax will have to be diverted to cover the shortfall.

“The transportation system’s borrow-and-spend era has reached its logical end point – all resources consumed by debt,” said Jon Orcutt, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a group affiliated with RPA.

The group said lawmakers must come up with an additional $2 billion in revenue to make up for the gap in funding.

“It is clear that we are facing a major transportation funding crisis in New Jersey,” said Thomas G. Dallessio, vice president and New Jersey director for the Regional Planning Association. “Billions of dollars in new funding will be needed to avert a transportation meltdown.”