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The Commissioner's Report
Governor McGreevey takes
leadership role on funding
McGreevey has taken a national leadership role in the
fight to renew the federal transportation program and
bring home more funding for New Jersey highway and public
the National Governors Association annual meeting in
Indianapolis, the Governor unveiled a bold proposal
Governor offered his plan to break an impasse in Washington
over reauthorization of the program, called TEA 21,
which expires September 30. The Bush Administration
has proposed a $248 billion program, while a group of
House Republican leaders has offered a $375 billion
program that would rely on a substantial increase in
the federal gas tax.
the federal funding program for six years;
federal funding for highways and public transit by
38 percent over current levels;
that all Highway Trust Fund user fees are distributed
reliably to the states;
current funding guarantees and budget firewalls;
the current funding split between highways and public
James E. McGreevey has put himself in the middle of
the fight over a new federal transportation spending
bill, The Star-Ledger editorialized. It
may not be a bad place to be. The newspaper noted
the importance of generating more transportation funding
for New Jersey.
other editorial pages, the Home News Tribune welcomed
the Governors new thinking on transportation
while the Asbury Park Press declared the Governors
plan warrants a serious look.
McGreeveys plan would create a non-profit Transportation
Finance Corporation (TFC), which would be empowered
to issue $80 billion in tax credit bonds. The states
would receive $60 billion of the revenue in transportation
aid while the remaining $20 billion would be held in
a sinking fund to retire the principal.
The $60 billion would protect public transits
share at $12 billion.
plan would avoid a tax increase, which the Bush Administration
has made clear it will not support, and would not increase
the national budget deficit. In addition, the TFC would
serve only as a financing mechanism; Congress would
continue to exercise control over funding formulas and
allocations to the states.
For New Jersey, the Governors plan would mean
an additional $2 billion over current funding levels
and the means to support 84,000 jobs.