This morning, Senator Jennifer Beck attended the groundbreaking for one of the largest solar farms in the northeastern United States, located in Tinton Falls. The solar farm will consist of 85,000 ground mounted panels on 100 acres of land with a generation capacity of 19.88 megawatts.
“I am so pleased to have been able to attend the groundbreaking of this new solar farm,” said Beck. “As a member of the Senate Environment committee, I have promoted policies encouraging the expansion of solar energy in New Jersey, and this project is, in part, a result of that effort. Nationally, New Jersey ranks second only to California as the state most aggressively promoting solar energy.”
Vote Paves Way for Critical Transportation Projects, Puts People Back to Work
Senator Anthony Bucco (R-25), a member of the Joint Budget Oversight Committee, praised the committee for finally voting to authorize the Transportation Trust Fund Authority to make use of $1.315 billion of unused bonding capacity to fund critical transportation projects. He said that the vote was given added importance by a new report issued by Transportation for America which cited the poor state of North Jersey bridges.
“The report issued by Transportation for America is further proof that we can no longer delay the funding of critical transportation projects, including bridge repair and replacement,” said Bucco. “I am glad that members of both parties were able to break through the legislative gridlock that was preventing us from getting to work on making our transportation infrastructure safe. Just as importantly, this funding will help create new jobs for many in the construction industry who have been hit especially hard by the down economy.”
New Trans-Hudson Tunnel Would Be More Convenient and Cost-Effective
Senator Kevin O’Toole, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, released the following comments today regarding the proposal to extend the number 7 subway line under the Hudson River to Secaucus Junction:
“Governor Christie was exactly right to cancel the ill-conceived ARC tunnel. That plan would have stuck the taxpayers of New Jersey with the entire bill for the all of the cost overruns for that tunnel. These additional costs that could have run into the billions of dollars, all paid for by the taxpayers of New Jersey. Additionally, the ARC tunnel would have sent riders to dead end in Macy’s basement.
33% Hike in Down Economy Hurts Seniors and Families
Senator Michael Doherty, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement urging enactment of a program that will provide toll discounts for local residents who are impacted by the recently enacted toll hikes on Delaware River bridges.
“A 33% toll hike was not the right course of action to impose on working families and seniors during hard economic times. The Bridge Commission historically had a program that allowed local residents who relied on the bridges to receive discounts. I am calling on the Commission to issue coupons or tokens, as they did in the past, to offset the recent increase.”
Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande are pleased to announce the recognition by Governor Christie of several residents of Monmouth County who went above and beyond to assist their fellow citizens during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. The event took place this afternoon New Jersey State Volunteer Recognition Ceremony at the War Memorial Theater in Trenton.
“Hurricane Irene brought a level of destruction that New Jersey hadn’t seen in decades,” said Beck. “In the face of the flooding and devastation, New Jerseyans from around the State banded together and freely offered their assistance to one another without even the thought of compensation. I am proud to live among such a class of people, and I am honored to represent them.”
President Also Needs to End Debt Collectors’ Robo Calls to Cell Phones
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean released the following statement regarding a proposal by President Obama that would allow students to consolidate their loans at lower interest rates:
“The very difficult economic environment that has persisted during President Obama’s tenure demands that extraordinary measures be taken to ease the burden of students unable to find employment. The President’s proposal to permit students to consolidate loans from the federal government, at lower interest rates is worthy of consideration in these difficult economic times and could provide some relief to struggling graduates.
Says Plan Makes More Sense than Cancelled ARC Tunnel, Billions Cheaper for NJ Taxpayers
Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-26) said that a proposal that reportedly is being considered to extend New York City’s Number 7 subway line to the Secaucus Junction rail station would provide mass transit in the region with a much needed boost in capacity, provide commuters with increased flexibility and save New Jersey taxpayers billions of dollars relative to the cancelled ARC tunnel project.
“Unlike the ARC tunnel project, which Governor Christie rightly cancelled last year, the extension of the Number 7 subway line to Secaucus Junction makes sense for New Jersey,” said Pennacchio. “While the ARC tunnel would have sent riders to a new station deep under Macy’s basement that connected to nothing else, train riders connecting to the Number 7 line at Secaucus Junction would immediately be tied into the whole New York City subway system. This makes practical sense for New Jersey commuters in a way that the ARC tunnel never did.”
Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande offered their support for Governor Christie by calling for judges in New Jersey to contribute their fair share to pension and benefits, like all other public employees.
“As a sponsor of the reform,” said Beck, “the intent of the legislation was for all public employees to contribute their fair share to ensure the pension systems stability. The changes were purposefully made across the board in the spirit of fairness and shared sacrifice. The finding by the Superior Court exempting judges from these reforms flies in the face of that equity.”
Common-Sense Solution to Nonsensical Court Decision
Senator Gerald Cardinale, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement supporting Governor Christie’s call for a constitutional amendment to clarify that the Judiciary must pay more for their pension and health benefits:
“I support the Governor’s call for an amendment to address the recent court decision that found that the Judiciary is exempt from the higher contribution requirements in the recently passed pension and health benefits reforms. This is fundamentally an issue of fairness, all public employees are making sacrifices, and judges should not be set apart as a special, privileged class of employee – the Judiciary.
Senator Supports Amendment to Compel Judges to Pay Their Way
Senator Joe Kyrillos issued the following statement regarding the decision by the Superior Court which states judges are exempt from the recently enacted pension and health benefits reforms, echoing the Governor’s call for a Constitutional Amendment:
“It is preposterous that the Judiciary would be exempt from the higher contribution requirements set in the recently passed pension and health benefits reforms. An amendment to the New Jersey constitution which currently prevents judges from paying higher contribution rates for their pension and health benefits is obviously necessary given Judge Feinberg’s decision. This issue is fundamentally about fairness; all public employees are making sacrifices and judges should not be set apart as a privileged class of employees.