With continuing partisan bickering in Washington D.C. – and unresolved questions about America’s debt problem – there is growing concern that Congress may soon decide to cut the amount of federal transportation funding given to the states. The Head of the Jersey Assembly Transportation Committee shutters at the idea.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski says “New Jersey is a transportation hub – it is the transportation hub for the east coast of the United States – major highways, rail lines, ports, airports all are located here – New Jersey needs the federal dollars that help us maintain that network, that help us grow our economy – and if there is an interruption in the pipeline of federal dollars in New Jersey, it will have devastating consequences- not only for our transportation planning but it will have devastating consequences for our economy as well.”

He says any cut in federal transportation dollars “really hurts New Jersey in particular, where we are so terribly dependant on federal dollars – to have the specter that the pipeline might be interrupted – it might be discontinued – that’s bad…the New Jersey Department of Transportation has a 3-point-5 billion dollar capital project budget – 1-point-69 billion comes from the federal government- that’s about 35 percent…so if federal dollars are diminished that means roads are not improved, that means rail lines are not made better for commuters – that means ports suffer- that means our economy suffers.”

Wisniewski points out it is estimated by economists “that every one billion dollars we spend on transportation in New Jersey returns 6 billion dollars in economic activity – it creates thousands upon thousands of jobs…when we invest in our transportation infrastructure in this state, we’re investing in the families that live in this state- that have opportunities for employment…every day that we debate and do not have action on a secure, long term funding source for transportation projects is another day that we are putting jobs at peril.”