With transportation funding negotiations deadlocked, County has plan to restart Shark River dredging
The project, which had restarted on schedule on July 1 was halted at midnight on July 8 when Governor Christie’s executive order halting projects funded by the Transportation Trust Fund took effect.
The legislature failed to pass TTF funding with a $.23 per gallon gas tax on June 30th. The Senate’s plan was to increase the gas tax while phasing out the estate tax and reducing income taxes on retirees. Christie and the Assembly agreed on a bill that would have raised the gas tax and reduced the sales tax from 7% to 6%. Senate President Steve Sweeny and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto agreed to pass a revised version of the Senate’s original bill last week. Yesterday, Christie said the Democrats plan is “dead on arrival.”
Constrained by environment regulations that allow dredging only from July 1 through December 31, Arnone wants the Shark River project restarted regardless of what the legislature and Christie do and he wants the $2 million that Monmouth County, Neptune Township, Neptune City, Wall Township and Belmar collectively contributed to the project to fund the work while the State gets its act together.
“After nearly 20 years of discussions and false starts our residents and visitors finally believed that work to restore a safe passage for recreational and commercial traffic in the Shark River would be a reality,” said Arnone. “We are now well into the dredging season and no work is being done as a result of the State’s executive order for work stoppage. We need the contractor to get back to work.”
Arnone said that he will also address the rebuilding of the Matawan Creek Bridge and the Oceanic Bridge repairs at the Wednesday press conference
With the leaders of the legislature in Philadelphia for the rigged Democratic National Convention, and with Christie steadfast against their plan to fund New Jersey’s infrastructure, there is not likely to be an agreement this week. Sweeney has called the Senate into session at noon on Friday. The Senate Budget Committee is schedule to meet at 11 a.m. on Friday. The Assembly has no sessions scheduled, according to the Legislature’s website.
The Democrats would need Republican votes to override a Christie veto of the Senate plan, something that has never been done since the governor took office almost seven years ago.
Monmouth County Senators Joe Kyrillos and Jennifer Beck remain on opposite sides of the issue.
“I’m glad to hear that the Governor will not be signing this billion dollar tax increse,” Beck said in a statement to MMM. “I remain opposed to increasing our gas tax and remain steadfast in my position that we can fund our transportation priorities without imposing new, onerous taxes on our residents.”
Tony Perry, Kyrillos’s spokesperson, said, “Senator Kyrillos continues to support the effort. People don’t understand the proposal in its entirety. The income and estate tax cuts would be trans formative for the State. Senator Kyrillos believes that the Governor should get on board and use his leverage on this deal to kill the Democrat’s pension constitutional amendment.”