SAYS ADMINISTRATION SHOULD INTRODUCE SEPARATE APPROPRIATIONS BILL FOR ASSET PLAN
Assembly Republican Budget Officer Joseph Malone today called on Governor Jon Corzine to delete language from his proposed Fiscal Year 2009 budget that would once again give his administration the green light to spend millions of taxpayer dollars on consulting and engineering fees for a monetization plan.
“This is the second year that there is language in the budget giving Governor Corzine free reign to spend taxpayer dollars on a variety of fees affiliated with his asset monetization proposal,” stated Malone, R-Burlington, Monmouth, Ocean and Mercer. “This language shouldn’t be buried in this budget document. If the governor wants to move forward with this proposal, he should have a separate appropriations bill drafted.”
Malone said that having a separate bill will more clearly define the governor’s authority as well as the spending constraints as it pertains to all aspects of a transportation funding plan. This approach will allow for the plan to be fully vetted and lead to open and constructive discussion.
Noting that the viability of New Jersey’s roads, bridges and rail lines are one of the most important issues the state faces, Malone also said the governor and Legislature should focus their attention more on the solvency of the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).
In March 2006 the Legislature reauthorized the Transportation Trust Fund. The annual capital program authorization was increased from $950 million to $1.6 billion per year for fiscal years 2007 through 2011, which means funding for the program will expire soon.
“There’s no question the state’s aging transportation infrastructure is in need of repair,” said Malone. “The language in last year’s budget on monetization set the discussion of the Transportation Trust Fund in the wrong direction. Our roads, bridges, rail lines and tunnels are critical to the safety and economic viability of our residents. We owe it to the public to begin a serious, non-confrontational dialogue on the future of the state’s transportation network.”