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Chris Christie’s Transportation Record Is a Bigger Disaster Than Bridgegate

What a fiasco. Six years after New Jersey Governor Chris Christie killed the ARC transit tunnel under the Hudson so he could avoid raising the gas tax, the jig is up. The state has run out of transportation funding anyway.

NJ's Transportation Trust Fund dried up a month ago, bringing a halt to basic infrastructure projects all over the state. Raiding major transit projects, it turns out, is not a sustainable way to fund a transportation system.

But even now, with their backs against the wall, state legislative leaders and reputed Donald Trump manservant Christie are coming up empty, reports Janna Chernetz at Network blog Mobilizing the Region:

It’s been one month since the TTF dried up, and the Garden State is still without transportation funding -- or even a foreseeable solution. The past six weeks have been rather rocky for the governor and the state’s legislative leaders:

  • June 23 – The Senate and Assembly TTF reauthorization bills are considered and passed out of committees.
  • June 28 – Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto changes the Assembly’s gas tax proposal in a secret midnight meeting with the governor. That version later passes the full Assembly.
  • June 30 – Senate President Stephen Sweeney refuses to advance the Assembly proposal, and the fiscal year ends without a resolution to TTF crisis. The TTF officially goes bankrupt, and Christie signs an executive order halting all TTF-funded projects.
  • July 22 – Sweeney and Prieto announce a joint plan to renew the TTF.
  • July 29 – The Senate Budget Committee considers and passes the Sweeney-Prieto revised plan.
  • August 1 – The Senate once again delays a vote on the TTF bill after failing to garner enough votes to guarantee a veto override.

Governor Christie has been -- and remains -- the biggest obstruction to a solution with his unmerited opposition to a gas tax increase that isn’t coupled with unrelated tax cuts. (Where was the call for tax cuts when NJ Transit voted to raise fares last summer?) And this irrational insistence on "tax fairness" has resulted in a complete stalemate in Trenton. It’s ironic really, because the purpose of the Transportation Trust Fund, when it was established in 1984, was to remove transportation from the political process.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Denver Urbanism makes the case for "transportation variety" in cities. Streets.mn reports that the departure of a suburban county from a regional transit organization puts plans for bus rapid transit in jeopardy. And Mobility Lab explains how Arlington County transportation engineers were treated to a tour of local bike infrastructure -- an exercise everyone hopes will improve road design for cyclists.

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