Lawmakers aren’t using a massive $10 billion windfall to boost funding for NJ Transit, and the decision has left Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck) incensed and unsure whether she’ll back the budget bill Democrats plan to introduce Monday.
“Everybody else has got a portion of this money, and to not put NJ Transit is absolutely mind-blowing,” Weinberg said. “It’s bad government, bad politics, bad for our future.”
The budget devotes $3.7 billion to a debt defeasance fund Weinberg approved of and makes other sizeable appropriations to boost the state’s pension payment by $505 million but keeps funding for NJ Transit largely level.
It also maintains an oft-criticized capital-to-operating transfer and failed to identify a dedicated funding source for the beleaguered transportation network.
“This is just unbelievable. It’s against everything that the governor said he stood for,” Weinberg said.
Funding for NJ Transit has incensed Weinberg so much that she was unsure whether she would back the budget when it comes up for a vote before the full Senate, as it is expected to do Thursday.
“I am not certain until all of this is worked out, but it is beyond belief to me that New Jersey Transit is the only one that didn’t seem to rise to the top,” she said.