ForwardNJ coalition announces membership and mission on TTF issue; Prieto welcomes support

TRENTON – At a press conference in the Statehouse today, ForwardNJ – a recently announced advocacy coalition for New Jersey’s transportation infrastructure — announced its members and mission, taking aim at the state’s depleted Transportation Trust Fund and calling on lawmakers to come up with solutions for financing it.

“Put quite simply, New Jersey’s transportation system has run out of gas,” Chair of ForwardNJ, President and CEO of the NJ Chamber of Commerce, Tom Bracken said in a statement released shortly after the presser. “We must replenish the fund to protect the safety of our families and the health of our economy. There is no greater priority for the business community right now than replenishing the trust fund in a smart, robust, sustainable way. In addition, we believe the revenue should be constitutionally dedicated to prevent any potential diversion of funds down the road from these critically important transportation projects.”

ForwardNJ is made up of more than 25 state-based organizations, Bracken said, and recently issued a report, written by Allison Black, a national economist for Association of Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) based in Washington, D.C on behalf of the coalition. Black spoke at today’s press conference, calling road and bridge conditions in New Jersey “some of the worst in the country.”

Lawmakers in the Statehouse have also taken up finding funding for the state’s TTF in recent weeks, with Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto (D-32) and Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) spearheading efforts to find new revenue to replenish the fund. Sweeney has spent the last few weeks campaigning around the state on a TTF tour, and Prieto recently announced two hearings to discuss the issue, one of which will take place next week at Montclair State University.

Today, Prieto welcomed the coalition’s efforts.

“Forward NJ’s report is an important addition to the discussion about what must be done to ensure New Jersey has a reliable transportation infrastructure able to create jobs and economic development,” Prieto said. “When I first began talking about this problem earlier this year, I was hoping for a thoughtful and academic discussion focused only on facts, with the key fact being the impending insolvency of New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund. I also welcomed input from everyone.”

A full list of ForwardNJ members include:

AAA NJ

American Council of Engineering Companies of NJ

Associated Construction Contractors of NJ

Director Emeritus, Rutgers University Voorhees Transportation Center Dr. Martin Robins

Former NJDOT Commissioner Steve Dilts

Former NJDOT Commissioner Jamie Fox

Former NJDOT Commissioner Hazel Gluck

Former NJDOT Commissioner Jack Lettiere

Laborers International Union of North America

Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce

NAIOP NJ

Newark Regional Business Partnership

New Jersey Concrete & Aggregate Association

NJ Asphalt Pavement Association

NJ Association of Counties

NJ Builders Association

NJ Future

NJ SEED

NJ State Building & Construction Trades Council

NJ State Chamber of Commerce

NJ State League of Municipalities

NY Shipping Association, Inc.

Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce

Southern New Jersey Development Council

Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of NJ PlanSmart NJ

Tri-State Transportation Campaign

Utility and Transportation Contractors Association of NJ

ForwardNJ coalition announces membership and mission on TTF issue; Prieto welcomes support