Transportation Trust Fund expected to run outPosted: Updated:
New Jersey's Transportation Trust Fund is dangerously low on money.
The fund provides federal money for repairs and improvements to the state's bridges, highways and mass transit.
New Jersey Sens. Cory Booker and Robert Menendez say they are ready to fight to make sure the fund does not completely dry up.
"New Jerseyans, as many Americans, should be ticked off," says Sen. Booker. "We inherited from our grandparents the best infrastructure on the globe and we've squandered our inheritance."
For months, New Jersey's lawmakers have been scrambling to find ways to keep the fund full. There was talk of raising the tax on gasoline or increasing tolls to replenish the fund.
"We're living off the greatest generation's investments, and we have done nothing to improve it, enhance it or build upon it, and now we're reaping the consequences of that," says Sen. Menendez.
Without the fund, New Jersey's already aging infrastructure could continue to deteriorate and would make new transportation projects next to impossible. Recent problems with New Jersey Transit and Amtrak bring these issues to the foreground.
Last week, commuters on NJ Transit experienced delays four of out five commuting days due to problems with Amtrak overhead power lines. NJ Transit blamed Amtrak for the delays. Amtrak blamed aging infrastructure.
An Amtrak spokesperson tells News 12 New Jersey that work is expected to begin Monday evening to repair one of two damaged high voltage cables, work which should take a few days to complete. The work is being done during overnight hours to minimize delays for commuters.
The issues with transit brought to light the need for another Hudson River rail crossing. A previously proposed rail tunnel project was scrapped by Gov. Chris Christie in 2010. The transit issues have brought up the concern once again.
"I've talked with [Transportation] Secretary Foxx yesterday, exchanging with Gov. Christie as well," says Sen. Booker. "We are going to come together to start working on a constructive plan."
The Transportation Trust fund is expected to run dry by Friday.