While we remain at a stand-still regarding how to replenish our moribund New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund, we face a more immediate deadline on Friday. On that day the latest short-term reauthorization of the federal transportation bill expires. We rely on the Feds to match our own transportation monies.
Rep Frank LoBiondo (CD 2) is the 5th highest ranking Republican on both the House Transportation Committee and the Subcommittee of Highways and Transit. However, he is not one of the 16 members of the Republican House delegation to the Senate-House Conference Committee. There issues in the bill will be negotiated to reach an agreement that both chambers can support. LoBiondo is MIA on a bill so important to us.
There is no mention of the bill nor his concern for the matter on his website nor his Facebook page. Numerous former congressmen have been very effective representing our transportation needs. LoBiondo, who worked many years in a family-owned trucking company, is not one of them. According to That’s My Congress, an independent voice on campaigns and legislation, he scores 9 of 100 on progressive ratings.
Democrat Rep. Albio Sires (CD 8), also on the House Transportation Committee and subcommittee, is on the Conference Committee to advocate for our interests.
Sen. Cory Booker is the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transport and is a strong advocate for our interests. He and other Senators in a letter explain, “Despite record ridership levels, on-time performance of many passenger rail routes continues to decline due to lack of federal investment… Our crumbling infrastructure is also a serious safety concern. Poor roadway conditions were a significant factor in approximately one-third of the more than 33,000 traffic fatalities last year.”
Roll Call reports, “Time is short to agree on a conference report before Friday, which will likely lead to at least one more short-term extension.” What is needed soon is a multi-year bill with significant funding increases that will allow New Jersey to implement critical new infrastructure projects.