Sarlo: NJ Transit Funding Increase Should Be Well Planned, Put an End to ‘Diversion Funding’

May 10, 2019, 5:00 pm | in

Sarlo: NJ Transit Funding Increase Should Be Well Planned, Put an End to ‘Diversion Funding’

TRENTON – Senator Paul Sarlo, the chairman of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, said today that he will work with transportation officials and legislative leaders on well planned ways to provide increased support for NJ Transit, but supports the efforts to end the “diversion funding” that has shifted money intended for other transportation purposes to shore up Transit’s budget.

“If NJ Transit needs more state funding to improve its service and make capital improvements, the Transportation Commissioner should work with legislative leaders on a plan for a dedicated source of funding that makes sure the money is used effectively,” said Senator Sarlo, the chair of the budget committee and authored the renewed Transportation Trust Fund. “I support the administration’s request for an additional $25 million but I also applaud them for phasing out the practice of diverting money from the New Jersey Turnpike. It’s a bad habit that shortchanges other transportation needs and leaves NJ Transit with unpredictable funding.”

Senator Sarlo, an engineer with decades of experience in the transportation construction industry, has long been an outspoken opponent of diverting money from different state transportation agencies. The Transportation Commissioner, who also chairs the boards of NJ Transit and the Turnpike Authority, said the road agency needs the money after years of diversions.

“There is no appetite for any tax increase this year, but if revenue growth produces enough additional funding we can consider more aid for NJ Transit,” said Senator Sarlo. “Beyond that, I urge the Commissioner of Transportation to work with legislative leaders over the next two years to develop a legislatively dedicated funding source for NJ Transit, even if that requires dedicating it from another transportation source.”