Permanent fix needed for Transportation Trust Fund

July 4, 2016

by Martin Robins

Former Gov. Thomas H. Kean understood that stable and sufficient investment in transportation infrastructure is one of the best ways for government to spur economic growth, raise housing values and improve the quality of life of all citizens. The Transportation Trust Fund that he proposed was one of his proudest accomplishments.

I worked with the 2002 blue-ribbon commission that recommended a 15-cent gas tax increase, only to see the plan abandoned for political reasons. We have since slid into a 14-year quagmire of borrowing that has consumed the fund’s capital generating capacity to pay for ever increasing debt service. Under Gov. Chris Christie, this situation has quietly metastasized, so that trust fund debt service would now eat into the general fund by almost $350 million per year. The plan before the Legislature now is the closest we have come to a permanent solution in the 14 years since and relieves the general fund of the trust fund’s growing debt-service albatross.

Guest Columnist/Opinion, Asbury Park Press, July 4

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