DRBA capital budget goes bust with Christie veto

Gov. Chris Christie today vetoed the Delaware River Bay Authority’s recently approved capital improvement budget plans because they irresponsibly presumed revenue from a toll increase that has not been approved by the governors of Delaware and New Jersey.

“It is presumptuous of the DRBA to fund a capital budget with revenue that does not yet exist,” Christie said.  “Toll increases of any kind are not taken lightly, and the DRBA should not presume revenues from a toll increase that has not yet been proposed to the public, yet alone approved.”

His veto letter addresses the February 15 meeting of the DRBA’s Board of Commissioners, at which the board passed two resolutions approving five-year and one-year capital improvement plans. Both budgets presumed the existence of revenue in excess of that presently available to the DRBA.

“It is inappropriate for DRBA to have budgeted on the basis of revenue of which DRBA cannot yet reasonably anticipate,”  Christie wrote in his veto letter.  “DRBA failed to secure approval from both Governors for additional revenue before ratifying its Capital Improvement Program (CIP) budgets.”

Only upon approvals from the Governors of New Jersey and Delaware of new revenue would DRBA be able to put forth an amended 2011 capital budget reflecting planned uses of such revenue.

While not apparent from the documentation surrounding the CIP, the Governor’s Authorities Unit’s questions to DRBA have revealed that only approximately $28 million of the $40.8 million for the proposed 2011 CIP can be achieved at current revenue levels.  From this, the Authorities Unit deduced, and DRBA confirmed, that the Authority presumed the grant of a toll increase in planning its capital budget.

DRBA capital budget goes bust with Christie veto