New Jersey's transportation chief Fox says fund will be broke after fiscal year 2016

Markets Associated Press

The fund that pays for New Jersey roads and bridges will be broke after the next fiscal year, the state's top transportation official said Thursday.

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Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox said at a Senate Budget Committee hearing that New Jersey's transportation trust fund will "hit a wall" on July 1, 2016, "meaning we won't be able to spend any additional money."

Fox, New Jersey Transit Executive Director Veronique Hakim and Motor Vehicle Commission Administrator Raymond Martinez testified Thursday on Gov. Chris Christie's 2016 budget proposal.

The hearing comes after Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff testified this week and said the trust fund will use a combination of bonds, loan repayments and cash infusion from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to keep the $1.6 billion capital program solvent through June 2016.

Months of effort to find a new revenue source appear stalled. Christie has said the fund is not in crisis at the moment, and the Democrat-led Legislature has not advanced any bills to address the issue.

The fund is beset with more than $16 billion of debt, and money dedicated to it goes directly toward debt service while road and bridge projects are paid for through additional debt.

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For example, the Christie administration is planning to issue $620 million in bonds to support the capital plan in fiscal year 2016.