On Monday, October 4, as Gov. Christie’s transportation project freeze goes into effect and the NJ legislature is set to hold emergency meetings on the crisis, WNYC’s Bob Hennelly reported on the situation. He said that Democratic legislators’ concerns focus on the Governor’s $1.25 billion bond program to keep the projects going without approval from New Jersey voters, which they say should be required; also, the Democrats fear that New Jersey’s contribution to the ARC tunnel project will be reassigned by the governor to bail out the Transportation Trust Fund. With 40,000 workers on highway and rail projects idled by the governor’s action, Hennelly noted, is the Democrats’ standing on principle going to be worth it? Hennelly reported that the root problem is the state’s continuing failure to deal with the depleted Trust Fund situation with a real solution, “like a gas tax hike”. The bottom line? Hennelly said that with the projects halted, workers and their unions are putting pressure on both sides, and we shall see what happens.
The Lackawanna Coalition has become increasingly concerned that New Jersey cannot afford its share of the cost of the proposed ARC Project, as demonstrated by the current difficulties with the Transportation Trust Fund. Coalition Chair David Peter Alan said, “If New Jersey can’t afford to continue construction on hundreds of highway projects and a few comparatively small transit projects, I don’t see how the state could afford billions of dollars for a deep-cavern tunnel to nowhere.”