New Jersey State Senate president Stephen Sweeney used the opening of Memorial Day weekend to call for more transportation investments.
Sweeney issued a statement on May 22 emphasizing the importance of Gov. Chris Christie agreeing to authorize a new Transportation Trust Fund that would contain $$39.5 million for upgrades to roads and bridges.
He said the Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridge in Ocean County is especially in need of repairs after being deemed structurally deficient in 2004 and damaged further by Hurricane Sandy.
"This Memorial Day, I had hoped we would have already reached agreement with the governor on a long-term funding solution for the Transportation Trust Fund," said Sweeney. "The time to agree on a new funding solution for the Transportation Trust Fund is now."
Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts said in response to Sweeney's statement that there is an authorized transportation capital plan through June 2016, "which is consistent with the normal 5-year reauthorization period of TTF spending."
Christie did not mention the TTF in his budget address, prompting criticism from Democratic leaders. The Republican governor announced in April that he is proposing $655 million in his $4.9 billion fiscal 2016 capital program be used to repair bridges and $333 million for roadway assets.
New Jersey's credit rating was cut one notch with a negative outlook by Moody's Investors Service in mid-April citing the state's budget and pension funding struggles for the downgrade.