Thousands of N.J. jobs at risk if federal transportation program not reauthorized, coalition warns

JERSEY CITY – A coalition of lawmakers and union leaders warned today that New Jersey could lose as much as 50,000 jobs if a federal transportation infrastructure program is not reauthorized by Sept. 30.

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, (D-NJ), Amalgamated Transportation Union AFL-CIO NJ State Council Chairman Ray Greaves, and Tri-State Transportation Campaign Federal Advocate Ya-Ting Liu said that if the Surface Transportation Program is not reauthorized when Congress reconvenes next month, the federal government would stop reimbursing states for transportation spending, all major projects would halt and 1.5 million workers’ jobs nationwide would be in jeopardy.

The program provides funding for work on roads, bridges and other transportation needs.

In a joint release, Menendez and the others said that there is concern that Tea Party-type tactics will be used to force the Senate to agree to a 35 percent surface transportation funding decrease.

“Infrastructure in dire need of repair like the Pulaski Skyway … as well as numerous New Jersey roadways in need of maintenance should not be used as leverage for an agenda that will not only endanger drivers and pedestrians; it will endanger thousands of jobs in New Jersey,” Menendez said.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unveiled a six-year federal highway and transit reauthorization proposal that represents a 35 percent reduction in funding. Such a cut would threaten 600,000 transportation jobs, including 18,000 in New Jersey, Menendez and the other said.

Other programs or efforts that could be hampered in New Jersey include the purchase of buses in Camden and Gloucester counties, the Carteret Ferry Terminal project and the entire ferry program, and the South Amboy Intermodal Center, as well as bikeways, waterfront projects, river improvements and the Safe Routes to School Program, they said. Thousands of N.J. jobs at risk if federal transportation program not reauthorized, coalition warns