Christie Unveils $8 Billion New Jersey Transport Plan

Thursday, 06 Jan 2011 09:04 PM

(Adds comment from governor beginning in third paragraph.)

Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie presented a plan to spend $8 billion on transportation over the next five years with less borrowing and more cash funding of projects.

The plan will allow the state to provide $1.6 billion a year for road and rail work, including $672 million for New Jersey Transit and $200 million for local-government projects, Christie said today during a press conference at the Statehouse. It doesn’t call for any new or increased taxes, he said.

“We are continuing to put New Jersey on the path towards fiscal health and proposing a sensible and responsible plan that prioritizes vital transportation projects, while limiting the already-heavy debt burden carried by the taxpayers of our state,” Christie, 48, a first-term Republican, said in a statement.

Christie’s administration has been working on a plan to replenish the state’s transportation trust fund, which is due to run out of money for new projects this year as payments on past debt consume its entire $895 million in annual revenue.

Under the existing transportation capital plan, nearly all the money spent on current projects was borrowed, Christie said. The governor said his plan will increase debt by about half as much as former Governor Jon Corzine, a Democrat, did with his transportation program.

$4.4 Billion

Christie proposed a total of $4.4 billion of borrowing for transportation over five years; $1.2 billion in fiscal 2012, which begins July 1; $986 million in 2013; $849 million in 2014; $735 million in 2015 and $627 million in 2016.

As the amount of borrowing decreases, cash funding will increase, from $76 million in 2012 to $261 million in 2013, $375 million in 2014, $490 million in 2015 and $605 million in 2016, Christie said.

Christie said his plan also is more responsible than the current one because the debt issued will have level 30-year interest payments. The existing borrowing program’s principal and interest are paid in the final year, he said.

“This deals with debt in a responsible way, and not the type of Wall Street trickery that got us in trouble in the past,” Christie said.

--Editors: Stacie Servetah, Mark Tannenbaum

To contact the reporter on this story: Terrence Dopp in Trenton at tdopp@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum in New York at mtannen@bloomberg.net.

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