With Tyler Kane, Transportation Investment Advocacy Center

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has declared a state of emergency and ordered a halt to all work paid for by the nearly depleted Transportation Trust Fund as he clashes with state Senate leaders over tax proposals.

The Senate late June 30 refused to approve a plan to replenish the transportation fund that was acceptable to Christie and the General Assembly. It called for a 23 cent-per-gallon increase in the gas tax, coupled with a 1 cent reduction in the state sales tax and an increase in the state’s retirement income tax exclusion. Several Senators claimed that such cuts could cost the state over $2 billion in revenue over the next three years. The Senate had initially considered measures that would have cut the state’s estate tax, which levies taxes on inheritances that totaled more than $675,000.

Christie slammed the Senate’s inaction, saying it “ignored New Jersey’s necessary transportation infrastructure improvements, as well as the hundreds of private-sector workers who came to Trenton today with their jobs hanging in the balance.” He said transportation work will only resume in areas where it is necessary to protect public health and safety.

The trust fund lost its borrowing power July 1 and will run out of construction funding in the coming weeks. Read more.