Arnone in talks to keep Monmouth County projects going uninterupted
Governor Chris Christie issued an Executive Order last night shutting down all projects funded by the state’s Transportation Trust Fund. The fund’s authorization expired at midnight though published reports indicated that there is enough money in the fund to continue work through mid-August.
Christie’s dramatics came as a result of the Legislature failing to reauthorize the fund. The Senate was considering a bi-partisan plan to reauthorize the fund with a $.23 per gallon gas tax increase while also phasing out the estate tax and income tax on retirement income. The Assembly passed legislation negotiated by Christie and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto in the wee hours of Tuesday morning that would increase the gas tax $.23 and phase in a reduction in the state sales tax from 7% to 6%. Christie said the last minute sales tax reduction was his idea.
The Christie/Prieto plan was widely panned from both the left an right and had little support in the Senate.
No plan under consideration addressed New Jersey’s highest in the nation cost of road construction: an estimated $2 million per mile on average.
Monmouth County Freeholder Director Tom Arnone blasted Trenton as inept and more concerned with politics that governing. “There is no good reason for the nonsense the people of New Jersey have to put up with from our State Government,” Arnone said in a telephone interview with MMM. “They need to take a page out of our book; Plan ahead and get the job done for the people in a cost efficient manner.”
Arnone said he was conferring with county officials and the other freeholders with a eye toward keeping Monmouth County projects going while the State gets its act together. “I want us (Monmouth County’s government) to fulfill our promises to the municipalities with ongoing projects and keep our work going on county roads going while Trenton figures out how to fulfill its obligations. Given our financial strength and stability, I’m hopeful we can continue our work uninterrupted.”