TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund is empty. A two-and-a-half month long impasse over how to replenish the fund drags on, with elected officials disagreeing on how to cut other taxes to pave the way for a 23 cent a gallon gas tax increase.
Now one politician is proposing a stop gap solution to the problem: go to the bank.
Hundreds of local road projects have been idled all summer by the dispute.
Enter Middlesex County Democrat John Wisniewski, chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee. He’s proposing borrowing $3.2-billion to take care of the fund for the next two years.
“It seems that our current Governor is more interested in political posturing than getting the problem solved,” Wisniewski told KYW Newsradio, “and it is highly unlikely that we’ll be able to raise the gas tax without doing enormous damage to the budget.”
While Christie has promised to tap general fund revenues to make emergency road repairs when and if needed, Wisniewski says it’s critical to resume the local road projects and put hundreds of people off the job for two months back to work.
“The only way to do that, unless we raise the tax, is to borrow the money,” he said. “And the cost of the borrowing would be 100 million dollars a year.”
Wisniewski concedes his idea is “not a good option, but the only reasonable option left.”
Mind you, he’s been pushing a 25 cent a gallon gas tax increase with no corresponding tax cut, as a way to address the funding issue long term.
But that has no support in the legislature. Whether this loan idea will fly is very much in question.