Christie Orders Emergency NJ Budget Transfers to Support Essential Projects

AASHTO Journal, 19 August 2016

With New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and state lawmakers at an impasse over how to bolster the Transportation Trust Fund Authority, Christie declared an emergency and directed the state treasurer to shift money from other state accounts to pay for essential road and transit projects.

dollarpump.jpgChristie had ordered a halt to hundreds of non-federal transportation projects on June 30 after he and the Senate could not agree on a new revenue plan for the trust fund, which was on track to run out of money this month.

At the time, his order allowed spending to continue on projects that officials considered essential to the health, safety and welfare of New Jersey residents, but that rationing of trust fund dollars could only last a few weeks.

On Aug. 17 he issued the executive order, which said the trust fund was then “days away from exhausting all of its available funds.”

In the order Christie instructed the treasurer – working with the budget director and heads of the state Department of Transportation and NJ Transit – “to transfer from any state department to the TTFA such amounts as are determined to be necessary . . . to support transportation projects that are determined to be absolutely essential for the protection of the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state of New Jersey, or are required to ensure the receipt of federal funding.”

In a press release, Christie also said: “A well-maintained transportation infrastructure is essential to the operation of New Jersey’s economy and the people who rely upon it in all aspects of their daily lives. The current situation will persist until the Senate and the General Assembly pass an acceptable TTFA funding bill. Until they do so, the state must use money from the general fund for emergency road, bridge and mass transportation work.”

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