Freeholder O’Dea: ‘Ludicrous’ that Gov. Christie shut down TTF projects

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Jersey City Freeholder Bill O’Dea (D-2) said that it was “ludicrous” for Gov. Chris Christie (R) to shut down road projects paid for by Transportation Trust Fund “to make some kind of a ridiculous statement.”

The Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders unanimously passed a measure (7-0) urging state lawmakers to “reauthorize the Transportation Trust Fund with stable, dependable and sufficient sources of funding to increase Local Aid allocations.”

Similar to the discussion about adding the pension referendum to the November 8 ballot, Freeholders Gerard Balmir (D-3), O’Dea and Anthony Romano (D-5) were vocal on the subject.

“When you look, in history, at any government that doesn’t invest in their infrastructure, the support, the needs of their residents, cease to exist,” explained Balmir. “We’re at a critical point where we have to understand what funding the Transportation Trust Fund means.”

Balmir further stated that potholes, traffic and the constructions workers that have lost out on jobs as a result of the TTF freeze should motivate lawmakers to resolve this issue – noting that “elected officials should not make the Transportation Trust Fund a political football.”

O’Dea told those in attendance to think about every time construction equipment is sitting idly on a road, with construction workers out of work, is “because politics is being played by the governor and others down in Trenton is totally unacceptable.”

At the end of June, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) spearheaded a TTF plan that would increase the gas tax by 23 cents per gallon and eliminate the estate tax by 2018.

The plan was backed by Christie, but the matter remains unresolved as Prieto and state Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) introduced a $16 billion compromise last month that will likely not have the governor’s support.

Specifically, O’Dea voiced displeasure over the handling of the Pulaski Skyway and Bayonne Bridge repair projects, exclaiming that Communipaw Avenue and Route 440 – both main roadways in his district – becoming “a parking lot” as a result of the abundant closures.

“We just need to get this done and to stop that to make some kind of a ridiculous statement I think was ludicrous on the part of the governor,” O’Dea doubled down.

In regards to Hoboken, Romano expressed great dissatisfaction in the current state of the Mile Square City roads.

“In regards to the roads, outside of the county streets, Hoboken streets are a third world country. Washington Street is simply a pure disgrace and vehicles [are] being damaged every day … the Transportation Trust Fund needs to be supported.”

Brian Murray, a spokesman for Christie’s office, said the state Senate deserves the blame for any issues caused by the TTF freeze

“There are two things to understand. The Senate stalled a TTF funding plan that was adopted by the Assembly and endorsed by the Governor last month,” Murray said in an email.

“The Governor had proposed a significant plan for tax fairness, one that included a reduced sales tax and retirement income tax cuts to offset any increase that was being proposed for the gas tax to fund the TTF. The Assembly overwhelmingly approved that plan. We are now waiting on the Democrat Senate.”

Murray added that with no new TTF plan in sight, the TTF funds will likely be completely depleted by the middle of this month, which is why Christie is allocating the remaining funds towards emergency road work projects that need to be completed for safety reasons.

Last month, Hudson County View exclusively reported that 21 roadway projects were shut down due to the governor’s TTF freeze.

Days before that, North Bergen Freeholder Anthony Vainieri (D-8) made headlines for calling Christie “a fat bully” for shutting down road improvement projects, including one in James J. Braddock Park – which is part of Vainieri’s district.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Sweeney is are once again holding the public hostage. The poor and working class will have to struggle to pay a 23 cent per gallon tax while millionaires will get a tax break on estate taxes. All Sweeney cares about is getting his fat cat union buddies some more huge road construction contracts. I feel for the working construction workers who have been laid off because of Sweeney’s game, but this isn’t about them either. It’s Sweeney pumping the cash into the Union treasuries so that they can in turn make generous contributions to his campaign, Sweeney had no problem screwing public employees this week, but he’ll go toe to toe with the Governor to protect his union contributors.
    The Freeholders should have passed a resolution blasting Christie and his pal Sweeney for endangering public safety. Anyone who thinks that Sweeney and Christie aren’t plotting this whole mess together just doesn’t know about the cozy relationship between the two.
    I’m willing to predict that now that Sweeney has double crossed the public employees you will see a miraculous compromise reached by Christie and him. It’s time to throw both of those bums out of Trenton.

  2. I have a challenge for you, mr o’dea. Go to rt 7 construction site, and take a look at girders (beams). You will notice that only outer ones are factory primed and painted, while the rest is rusted before even installed. It is called a racket. Sabotaging public property to create fake workload. Something jc director of Dpw one mark redfield is prificient in (see fraud of deliberate replacing street signs after sandy with same type failed ones). That is where ttf money evaporated. Massive fraud of creating fake workload.

  3. HC blew 1m $$ or so for a hundred feet long walk bridge over water at laurel hill park recently. Nobody uses it.

  4. Quoting …..

    “When you look, in history, at any government that doesn’t invest in their infrastructure, the support, the needs of their residents, cease to exist,” explained Balmir. “We’re at a critical point where we have to understand what funding the Transportation Trust Fund means.”

    I see you said “residents”, not “Public Sector workers”. So shouldn’t the SAME logic apply to the pensions and benefits (e.g., retiree healthcare) granted Public Sector workers?

    Why do you and your ilk (aka “politicians”) ignore the beneficial interests of all “residents” and shovel grossly excessive, unnecessary, unjust, unfair (to Taxpayers), and clearly unaffordable pensions & benefits to our Public Sector workers ?

    Yea, that was a rhetorical question. It’s because politicians are BOUGHT with Public Sector Union campaign contributions and election support (and of course, they too participate in the SAME grossly excessive pension/benefit Plans).

    These DB pensions should be FROZEN for the future service of ALL of NJ’s CURRENT Public Sector workers. Replace them with DC Plans with a 3%-of-pay employer “match” as is commonplace in Private Sector employment. And ……. END all taxpayer-funded retiree healthcare subsidies for all CURRENT active and retired workers. Such benefits are all but GONE in the Private Sector, and Public Sector workers are not “special” and deserving of a better deal ….on the Taxpayers’ dime.

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