PHILADELPHIA — Senate President Stephen Sweeney said Tuesday that Democrats are still courting Republican votes on a tax package to finance road and transit projects, and Gov. Chris Christie‘s rejection of the plan on Monday hasn’t chilled existing support.
“I think the votes are still there,” Sweeney said. “I do. No one has picked up the phone and told me we lost anybody.”
Senate and Assembly Democratic leaders who struck a deal last week to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund need Republican votes to override a gubernatorial veto.
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IF THE state’s depleted Transportation Trust Fund is going to be fixed anytime soon, Democrats are going to have to do it.
Governor Christie made that clear Monday when he declared a proposed fix put together by Democratic legislative leaders to be “dead on arrival.” But the governor didn’t offer a constructive alternative other than an already rejected plan to offset a 23-cent per gallon gas tax increase with a 1-percentage-point decrease in the state’s 7 percent sales tax.
Instead, he resorted to political rhetoric in accusing Democrats of doing what they always do: “impose an immediate massive tax hike with a promise of future tax relief long after I am out of office.”
Route 518 is one of the busiest roads in southern Somerset County. Between Rocky Hill and Franklin, the bridge on that roadway over the Delaware and Raritan Canal has been closed for replacement since late last month, causing frustrating traffic tie-ups and concerns about safety among residents of Rocky Hill.
The July 8 order by Governor Chris Christie to suspend work on all “non-essential” road projects С in response to a Senate stalemate over which taxes should be cut in exchange for raising the gas tax to fund road work С has halted the construction work, making matters worse.
The detour currently in place re-routes traffic down Crescent Avenue to get to River Road. For those who live on that street, the trucks rumbling down the road are “an accident waiting to happen,” said resident Caron Wendell.