LINDEN - New Jersey’s lawmakers are having a hard time coming up with an agreement for how to replenish the state’s Transportation Trust Fund.
Senate President Steve Sweeney says that the lack of money in the fund is a crisis that New Jersey soon needs to address. Sweeney held a media event Wednesday at the site of last year’s major truck fire accident that shut down the New Jersey Turnpike for 10 hours in Linden to address his point.
In the August 2015 accident, a dump truck struck another truck while traveling along the Turnpike near the Wood Avenue overpass. One person was killed.
Sweeney says there was a plan in place to create exit roads that would keep large trucks away from Linden neighborhoods and make travel safer for motorists. However, that plan would cost $150 million, and with the Trust Fund running out, that project is no longer an option.
Gov. Chris Christie did not lay out a plan for the fund in his 2017 state budget address. He said that the lack of funds in the Transportation Trust Fund is partisan hype.
Sweeney says that it is time that a plan is put in place.
“I’m hoping the governor will get serious now with us, because [Speaker Vincent Prieto] and I are just not going to throw ideas against a wall and hope he likes one,” Sweeney says.
Lawmakers need to come up with a new funding source for the trust fund by June 30 when it runs out.
Gov. Christie did not comment directly on Sweeney’s remarks, but a spokesperson for the governor tells News 12 New Jersey that the last reauthorization of the fund did not happen until right before the deadline.