TRENTON - New Jersey's top transportation official says that the state's fund for road and bridge work will likely have enough cash to carry it beyond the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, but not too deep into the summer.
Acting Transportation Commissioner Richard Hammer told the Assembly budget committee Wednesday that the transportation trust fund will likely be solvent until "early August."
Republican Gov. Chris Christie and the Democrat-led Legislature have so far failed to agree on how to pay for the fund in the new fiscal year.
Hammer defended the governor at Wednesday’s meeting.
"[Gov. Christie] fully expects the Legislature to submit a plan to him and he's been calling for that publicly for quite some time,” Hammer says. “[The governor says that] his door is always open for dialog, so I would hope that there's some dialog going on"
A big question that has come up about the topic of the transportation fund is who is supposed to set up the plan. Gov. Christie says that he wants to hear from the Legislature on a plan to replenish the fund, but other lawmakers say that he should have included a plan in his 2017 budget.
Democrats have called for an increase in the gas tax to increase the fund. But Christie says any deal must result in "tax fairness" for the state's residents.
Authorization for the roughly $1.6 billion fund expires June 30. The fund must be reauthorized every five years.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.