Governor Christie and I had a tough conversation a couple months ago on my morning show. He dismissed my question about the Transportation Trust Fund paying for a “light rail project”…essentially saying that the TTF money would only be allocated to the roads, provided the voters pass a constitutional amendment ensuring that. Now it’s true that I mentioned Atlantic City specifically. But instead of correcting my location info, he dismissed the idea of a light rail as essentially being absurd! Then at Friday’s press conference, right before Jessica Nutt asked the Senate President and Assembly Speaker about another “Midnight vote”, Steve Sweeney discussed the funding for new light rail projects. Two light rails, Bergen-Hudson and Camden-Gloucester and a freight line. So because I had the location wrong, Governor Christie acted as if I pulled “rail projects” out of thin air for ratings! Yes I had bad information about the location but it seems the worst was I had bad info on the number of projects. The fact is that TTF money will be poured into not ONE but THREE projects completely unrelated to the roads. How exactly are three rail projects related to the crumbling roads and bridges??
Is is possible that the Governor went into this latest gas tax deal unaware that rail projects were on the list? Maybe he only knew about the rail projects while the tax was being discussed…but not before. Well I’ve got a bridge to sell you if you buy that. He clearly knew but acted like I was an idiot for even asking the question. Perhaps the worst part is that after all the scare tactics about our failing roadways, the money to the TTF, even if dedicated through the November ballot question, will not all be used to solve the problem.
THE FULL CONVERSATION WITH GOVERNOR CHRISTIE (June 30, 2016):
It’s disgraceful that the rich politicians in Trenton have decided that it’s OK to hold New Jerseyans hostage. They take money from pension funds that were earned by working and middle class teachers and government workers and then refuse to fix the aging infrastructure putting commuters at risk. The only way to solve the problem they say is to have working class New Jersey drivers pay more at the pump. Outrageous. The Governor then tries to pretend that he’s still a tax cutter with the sham of tax cuts through the estate tax and sales tax.
First of all the estate tax only impacts 4% of estates in NJ… so 96% of us will never realize that savings. Secondly, the sales tax cut is phased in over 15 months giving a future governor & legislature an easy way to undo the deal. Even if it stays intact, the average New Jerseyan who according to AAA will be spending about $170 a year more on gas would have to spend more than $40,000 a year to realize what the Governor calls “Tax Fairness”. And many will pay much more tha $170. And considering that the median income in NJ is just north of $70,000, the possibility of anyone but the rich getting ‘fairness” is bleak indeed. Consider also for a moment the truckers who come to NJ to fill up spending hundreds of dollars a week. How many will just fill up in DE or PA instead of paying more at our pumps? Or the cost of goods delivered by those trucks? Or the cost of the gas for state vehicles enjoyed by the political elite like Christie and Sweeney?
All this and we still don’t know exactly how much it costs to build roads in New Jersey, other than knowing it’s more expensive than in other states.
So a late Friday deal struck by three guys who won’t even have to pay the tax. More of your money into a government that can’t manage it’s finances let alone build roads. Don’t forget NJ Transit is run by government appointees…and the Port Authority. Something has to change in the way our state operates before they take one more dime out of our pocket.
At this point we’re on our own. Only two political leaders had the courage to stand up to Governor Christie and the Democratic legislative leaders. Senator Jennifer Beck and Senator Mike Doherty. No one else had the courage, the strength or the vision to stand up for us and push back on the bullies that run our government. Our recourse now is to remember in November. Christie is gone in a year so we can’t hold him accountable, unless he gets impeached. But Sweeney wants to be your governor. Setting aside for a moment the cowardly, spineless Republicans who are letting this happen…don’t forget that this is Sweeney’s tax on the working and middle class when he comes looking for your vote in 2017.