NEW YORK - The New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund Authority Monday approved up to $1.8 billion, in par value, of borrowing for fiscal 2011 to support road, bridge, and public transportation projects.
Officials are working on a fiscal 2011 capital budget that would include $1.43 billion of bonding. The administration has yet to file a final version of that capital plan to the Legislature. In prior years, the TTFA has sold $1.6 billion of debt for transportation infrastructure. Fiscal 2011 begins July 1.
The authority may head to the municipal market by August to raise bond proceeds for capital projects, but officials did not weigh in on an actual bond deal at Monday’s meeting.
“The authority did not authorize any specific transactions today, but it was noted that the authority most likely will need some type of bond sale by August 2010,” said TTFA spokesman Joe Dee.
In addition, the authority’s executive director, Steve Hanson, will depart on May 21 to join the U.S. Department of Transportation. No replacement has been named yet, Dee said. Hanson also served as the chief financial officer of the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Unless its dedicated revenue stream is expanded, the TTFA will run out of new bonding capacity by July 1, 2012, the start of fiscal 2012. At that time, its entire annual revenue stream of $895 million will be necessary to pay down outstanding bonds.
Gov. Chris Christie, who took office in January, is opposed to a gas-tax increase to help replenish the fund and ran on a platform of less taxation.
In legislative budget hearings last month, New Jersey DOT commissioner James Simpson said the state should consider prioritizing capital projects to weed out the less-important ones. He also said the state should utilize the federal government’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program, which provides direct loans and loan guarantees, and implement programs for rapid bus transit rather than building more costly light rail and commuter rail lines.