Statement of Commissioner
John J. Haley, Jr. on Tri-State and NJPIRG Press Conference
"This past summer, the Tri-State Campaign and NJ PIRG opposed efforts to renew the Transportation Trust Fund due to state spending policies on transportation. Today, they are trotting out the same tired old errors of fact to advance their myopic and disingenuous agenda. The best antidote to untruths and half truths are the facts:
-- During the current fiscal year (FY 99), only 9.2 percent of the $1.6 billion in state and federal assistance available to DOT and NJ TRANSIT will be used for new highway construction. The rest goes to maintenance, safety, traffic management, public transportation and infrastructure renewal.
-- NJPIRG and Tri-State note that all states should adopt a "fix it first" policy. In fact, last spring Governor Whitman announced just such a policy for New Jersey. The Governor’s Transportation Vision, NJ FIRST, lays out a program that emphasizes repairs and maintenance FIRST to keep pace with future needs, with 90 percent of all funding over the next decade targeted to infrastructure renewal and public transit.
-- NJDOT’s capital program is approved by the state’s three federal MPOs, and our capital program is annually reviewed and approved by the State Legislature. This ensures that the program represents regional priorities and needs.
Rather than take a seat at the table and try to work with us and the state’s three MPOs to provide meaningful input into the development of our spending program, the Tri-State Campaign and NJPIRG seem intent on releasing incorrect information in the hope that New Jersey commuters and residents will believe it. I know that our commuters and residents are much too smart to fall for such misguided tactics."