O’Scanlon legislation would keep road work going, keep Monmouth Park open, in the event of a NJ shutdown
Senator Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth County) announced that he will introduce two bills tomorrow in the NJ Senate tomorrow that, if enacted, would lessen the destructive aspects of a state government shutdown.
Governor Phil Murphy and the Democrat leaders in the legislature, Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, are thus far deadlocked over their competing proposals to raise taxes on New Jersey residents, tourists and businesses. If they are unable to come to an agreement, and get the legislature to concur, by midnight tomorrow, the government will shutdown.
It is outrageous that these facilites-tracks and casinos-would be forced to shut down over a technicality. Please @GovMurphy step in & stop this madness. Essentially, since no one knows if a shutdown will happen by June 1, these letters would have 2 b sent every year! Insanity! https://t.co/aCRWAgu77E
— Declan O’Scanlon (@declanoscanlon) June 29, 2018
O’Scanlon’s legislation would allow road construction projects performed by private contractors and funded by the Transportation Trust Fund continue in the event of a shutdown. Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick is sponsoring the legislation in the Assembly.
“Traffic across most of New Jersey is bad enough without forcing work crews to abandon road construction projects while Trenton Democrats debate competing tax increase proposals,” said O’Scanlon, a member of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee. “Ensuring that road repairs can be completed and lanes reopened quickly is not just a matter of convenience, it’s also important for public safety.”
In the event of a shutdown, the legislation requires safety inspections of existing transportation infrastructure and newly constructed transportation infrastructure that are funded by the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund Authority to continue to be funded.
“The construction workers are private contractors, so they have no issue staying on site and moving projects forward. Also, the cost of demobilizing is a significant expense,” said O’Scanlon. “To force that expense for a shutdown of a few days or weeks would only add to the costs of these projects. I’m glad to join Assembly Republican Leader Bramnick in this effort.”
The legislation directs that all State employees that have been designated as necessary to conduct safety inspections are to be considered essential personnel.
A second bill that O’Scanlon believes can be fast tracked tomorrow for Murphy’s signature would allow Monmouth Park and other New Jersey racetrack to continue operating throughout a shutdown.
“The Attorney General has indicated that all racetracks in New Jersey would be forced to close if the State shuts down on July 1st,” said O’Scanlon. “That closure would impact the new sports betting lounge that finally opened at Monmouth Park this month after long delays, right before the extremely important 4th of July weekend. It’s insane that we would allow harm to our local economy by closing facilities like Monmouth Park, which also generate substantial tax revenues in support of the State budget under debate.”