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Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Teaneck). (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Weinberg: Gateway Commission must use bonds, not rate hikes

Senator won’t confirm commission members absent vow to favor bonds

By Nikita Biryukov, July 22 2019 5:40 pm

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg celebrated warned that she would not vote to confirm members of the newly-created Gateway Development Commission unless they vowed to use bonds instead of hike NJ Transit rates.

“I want to make it absolutely clear today that it is the bipartisan intent of the New Jersey legislative leadership that under no circumstance would we accept a scenario where New Jersey Transit’s operating budget — which continues to be underfunded — would be saddled with any  portion of the construction cost of Gateway,” Weinberg said. “A commitment to that principle will be a prerequisite for confirmation of any nominee to the new Gateway Commission that comes before the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which I serve.”

Gov. Phil Murphy and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will share oversight and veto-power over the commission.

The commission’s creation follows weeks of negotiation with New York over the terms.

Under the deal reached, New York and New Jersey will pay equal shares of Gateway’s local costs. That includes funding for various tunnels and the Portal Bridge.

New Jersey isn’t looking to pass those costs off onto commuters via rate hikes.

“We intentionally wrote the new $16 billion Transportation Trust Fund law in 2016 with no cap on annual borrowing in case we needed an extra $1 billion or more in any given year for Gateway or another major project,” Weinberg said.

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