State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R-Morris, Passaic), a member of the Senate Budget and appropriations Committee, has asked the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services (OLS) to investigate how national efforts of regionalizing rail services could apply to New Jersey and New York rail lines. In light of a recent article in The Record which describes a potential $5 billion cost over run on the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) rail tunnel, the Senator wants to make sure that New Jersey utilizes every avenue of efficiency and cost savings prior to building the ARC Tunnel. Recently, Governor Christie has put a 30 day moratorium on the project to study the cost overruns.
“AMTRAK has recently announced the construction of an additional rail tunnel under the Hudson,” Pennacchio stated. “Who is coordinating the rail transportation efforts? It makes no sense to have two redundant tunnels one built by ARC and another built by AMTRAK. It is quite possible, even probable that turf battles with different bureaucracies running the rail lines, AMTRAK, LIRR, PATH and New Jersey Transit contribute to inefficiencies and redundant services ramping up the high cost of rail transportation.”
Senator Joe Kyrillos, the ranking Republican member on the Senate Economic Growth Committee, introduced legislation today that would transform The New Jersey Network (NJN) from a publically supported television and radio network into an independent, not-for-profit entity. The bill is attached and reflects Governor Christie’s proposal announced last month.
Senator Mike Doherty, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding a Federal audit that uncovered serious lapses in oversight on the new trans-Hudson tunnel. Last week Governor Christie ordered a 30 day suspension on additional work on the tunnel project.
“Published reports today indicated that fiscal safeguards and oversight on the ARC rail tunnel are either non-existent or seriously ineffectual. The flaws in the system were exposed by an audit done by the Federal government.
“The audit also estimated that cost overruns on the project could top more than $5 billion. New Jersey taxpayers and toll payers are already on the hook for $2.7 billion with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Federal government funding the balance.
30-Day Suspension Could Possibly Save Taxpayers Billions
Senator Mike Doherty, a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement regarding Governor Christie’s month-long postponement on work on the new trans-Hudson rail tunnel:
“Governor Christie is exactly right, we must delay any work on the tunnel to determine the best options for New Jersey taxpayers. On a more basic level we quite simply can’t spend money that we don’t have. The toll payers of the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway should not be forced to subsidize an $ 8.7 billion train tunnel to nowhere.
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean issued the following statement regarding a new study that reveals New Jersey’s outmigration rate is among the highest in the nation:
“Another study on the emigration of people from New Jersey is emphasizing the need for immediate, corrective measure to strengthen New Jersey’s economic position and policies. The time for fixing the blame is past. Now it is time to fix the problem.
Legislation Also Requires Drivers License Tests Be Given in English Only
Senator Gerald Cardinale, the ranking Republican Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced legislation this week that would require the Motor Vehicle Commission to conduct driver’s license examinations only in English. The bill would also require that DUI breath test warnings and explanations be given in English only.
“It is indisputable that the common language of the road in New Jersey is English.” Cardinale began. “It is only common sense that drivers licensed to operate vehicles by the State of New Jersey are able to understand the common language that regulates traffic throughout the state.”
Local Business Leaders Are Invited to Discuss the Challenges They Face
Assemblyman Scott Rudder and Assemblywoman Dawn Marie Addiego have invited local business owners and leaders to a round-table discussion with Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, 8 a.m. Tuesday, September 21, at the Medport Diner on Route 70 in Medford.
“Small business is the engine that will power the financial recovery in New Jersey,” said Assemblyman Rudder. “Business growth and job creation are crucial to restoring economic stability in our communities.”
Senator Joe Kyrillos, the ranking Republican member on the Senate Economic Growth Committee, unveiled legislation today that would transform The New Jersey Network from a publicly supported television and radio network into an independent, not-for-profit entity. The bill is attached and reflects Governor Christie’s proposal announced last month.
“Over the last two years, there has been a history of bipartisan progress that cannot be ignored. Whether it is ending borrowing without voter approval, controlling property taxes or beginning to restore solvency to the pension system, elected representatives of both parties have found common ground.
Package of Bills Would Help Towns Rein in Property Taxes
Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce sent a letter today to Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver asking them to post Governor Chris Christie’s toolkit measures for a vote. The toolkit measures will help towns rein in property taxes through a number of comprehensive measures including binding arbitration reform and civil service reform.
“Giving municipalities the tools they need to lower property taxes, while still maintaining essential government services, should be a top priority for the Legislature, ” Kean stated. “We passed a historic two percent property tax cap over the summer and now we need to follow it up by passing substantive government spending restraints.”