The New Jersey State AFL-CIO emphasized the pressing need for long-term funding for the state’s vital transportation network of roads, bridges, rails, tunnels and mass transit in testimony to a Senate Legislative Oversight Committee on Monday, August 10, 2015.
Our state’s economic vitality and the well-being of our residents depend on a safe, reliable transportation network. Yet, here in New Jersey, one in four of our bridges is structurally deficient, there is no money for new projects and commuting times are growing due to deficient roads, decrepit tunnels and inadequate rail and bus service.
Gov. Christie has failed to lead on this issue. He failed to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund and failed to implement a pay-as-you-go system, as he said he would. He’s also cut funding to mass transit, so NJ Transit recently raised fares and cut services again to the commuters who can least afford it.
The elephant in the room remains the gas tax. The New Jersey State AFL-CIO has been a long-time advocate of increasing the gas tax, and we continue to believe it is the only realistic solution to our problem. We recognize that the state has dug too deep a hole to get out of without raising the gas tax, which is among the lowest in the country.
As this issue moves forward, the New Jersey State AFL-CIO looks forward to working closely with legislators of both parties to develop a solution to address our infrastructure needs. Our businesses depend on it, our construction industry depends on it, our commuters depend on it, and the economic well-being of our region depends on it. As always, we look forward to being a partner in developing a solution that benefits us all.