New Jersey

Transportation Nation

NJ Governor Christie's 2012 Budget: Is That A Transpo Increase We See?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Governor Christie delivers his budget address in Trenton, New Jersey

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) New Jersey Governor Christie released his 2012 budget today.  And while nearly every agency took a hit, transportation spending will see an increase in state funding.

The budget also specifies that one of the goals this year is to avoid fare increases and expand bus service. This will be welcomed by New Jersey Transit passengers, who experienced a 22% fare hike last year.

Kate Slevin, the executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, was cautiously optimistic. "It's good news for transit riders – and drivers as well," she said, adding that more mass transit would help reduce New Jersey's famous traffic congestion.

More later--but in the meantime, you can read the budget below.

NJ Budget FY2012

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$16 Million NJ Arts Council Budget to Stay

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recommended slashing taxes and government spending in his budget proposal for the coming fiscal year on Tuesday. But he did not propose touching the budget that the N.J. State Council on the Arts received in the last fiscal year.


It's A Free Country ®

In Budget Address, Christie Dangles Property Tax Cuts in Exchange for Health and Pension Reform

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"This is the new normal," Christie pronounced in Trenton on Tuesday.

Thoroughly optimistic about the state of New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie introduced a $29.4 billion 2012 budget, with spending projected to be 2.6 percent less than the current year. He reaffirmed his commitment to not fund commitments made by prior governors if he doesn't believe they're good investments (possibly a reference to pulling a plug on the ARC Tunnel project connecting New York and New Jersey). 



In Wisconsin's Shadow, Christie Offers Budget for NJ

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

As he proposes his second budget, Gov. Christie is still faced with a weak national recovery that helped boost state tax revenues a little but is not generating the jobs the state needs.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

The Budget and Beyond

Friday, February 18, 2011

WNYC reporter Bob Hennelly looks at Bloomberg's proposed city budget, Governor Christie's latest approach to entitlements in New Jersey, and the Governor's comments about the national budget.

→Read a Recap and Join the Conversation at It's A Free Country

Transportation Nation

NJ to Feds: We May Not Have Agreed About ARC Tunnel, But We Agree We Shouldn't Have To Pay

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) New Jersey politicians might not have agreed about the ARC tunnel -- but when it comes to paying back the federal government $271 million in ARC money, they present a united front ... against paying, that is.

Yesterday, Governor Christie's office released a copy of a letter that the entire New Jersey congressional delegation --13 congressmen (yes, the entire delegation is male) plus the two senators -- sent to DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, expressing concern that "forcing New Jersey to pay these funds will undermine efforts for a new Trans-Hudson tunnel."

New Jersey has been pursuing legal action to avoid repaying the Federal Transit Administration $271 million that the agency billed the state for work on the ARC tunnel project. This letter appears to be the latest attempt by the state to try to get off the hook for the bill.

We reached out to the DOT for comment, wondering:  what triggered this letter? Were there discussions afoot about repurposing that money for a new iteration of a Trans-Hudson tunnel -- like the Gateway Tunnel or extending the #7 subway? The DOT says they have "no update."

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Confusion Leaves Many in a Haze Over NJ's Legal Marijuana Rules

Monday, February 14, 2011

The deadline for groups that want to grow and sell marijuana legally in New Jersey is Monday, but confusion over the rules may mean few applicants actually apply.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Brick City

Friday, February 11, 2011

Filmmakers Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin, creators of the docu-series “Brick City,” about Newark, New Jersey, talk about the series. They’re joined by inactive gang member Dashaun "Jiwe" Morris, who in Season 2 is struggling with an attempted murder charge that will force him to choose between a plea deal that would send him to prison for six years or a trial that could result in a much longer sentence, and his defense attorney, Brooke Barnett. "Brick City" airs Sundays at 8 pm on the Sundance Channel.

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Snow Day Snapshots

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The snow may have stopped coming down on Thursday morning, but New York City and the surrounding areas, including Connecticut and New Jersey, have been blanketed with powdery show. WNYC's Culture team has hit the streets to bring you the following Snow Day snapshots.

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Transportation Nation

Down to the Wire on Whether NJ Will Pay $271 Million for Cancelling ARC Tunnel

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

(New York - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) The clock is ticking on a proposed deal between the feds and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie over his decision in October to cancel the ARC rail tunnel under the Hudson because of projected cost overruns.

Christie has until the end of today to decide whether he will reimburse the Federal Transit Administration $271 million spent on ARC. In exchange, the agency would then turn around and hand back $128 million to the state for projects that improve air quality by cutting traffic congestion.

Meanwhile, earlier today Christie told Bloomberg TV: "We're having conversations with Mayor Bloomberg and others regarding the extension of the No. 7 train to Secaucus, New Jersey, which would do what we really wanted the ARC tunnel to do originally." (See WNYC for the full story.)

Governor Christie has said the state doesn't owe the money. Last month, he directed New Jersey Transit to hire Patton Boggs, a high-powered Washington law firm, to make the case for him with the federal government--by lawsuit, if necessary. The firm now stands ready to file suit if an agreement isn't reached in the next several hours.

"We have until midnight tonight," said Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak earlier today. "We have about seven hours and forty-nine minutes, something like that. We expect that our attorneys in Washington will be filing a timely response today."

Asked at a transportation conference in Washington how the negotiations were going, FTA Administrator Peter M. Rogoff declined to comment. The agency has already granted the state two extensions on an original deadline of December 24.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

New Jersey Judiciary

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

WNYC reporter Bob Hennelly talks about the New Jersey Supreme Court and other current events.

→ Read More and Join the Discussion at It's A Free Country

Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: NJ Transit's "Quiet Car" Program Spurs Not-So-Quiet Debate, and Has London "Misjudged Bike Demand?"

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bicyclists in Dubai (Danny McL/Flickr)

The Star-Ledger's editorial board is not loving New Jersey Governor Christie's transportation plan, which they describe as a short-sighted "money grab — all to protect his image on the gas tax."

Speaking of the Garden State, NJ Transit's recently expanded "quiet car" program is experiencing some growing pains, like hearty debates over the difference between "silent" and "merely quiet." (New York Times)

Police in Fairfax, Virginia, are cracking down on distracted driving -- and say there's been a 45% decrease in fatal crashes and a 42% decrease in all crashes. (WAMU)

Bike sharing comes to Dubai -- along with a plan to build 900 km of bike tracks (lanes) by the year 2020 (Khaleej Times).

$500 million subway "boondoggle?" The New York Post says that more than a decade after the MTA pledged to transform the subway data network, the equipment is still busted and the multimillion-dollar price tag is growing.

Is London "a rather unpleasant place for cyclists?" That's the assertion made by an article in The Economist, which says London may have "fundamentally misjudged the nature of bike demand." “There has never been a shortage of bikes in London,” says one transport economist. “It’s just that people are afraid to use them.

Florida Governor Rick Scott met with Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara at the Capitol to discuss trade -- and high-speed rail. (AP via the Miami Herald)

The New York Times profiled that friend to bicyclists, Denver mayor -- now Colorado's governor-elect -- John Hickenlooper.

California's new drivers' licenses are so complicated to produce that "up to 80% of some batches have had errors, forcing tens of thousands of motorists to wait as long as six weeks, rather than a few days, to get their cards." (Los Angeles Times)

Best Buy will sell 240-volt home charging stations for Ford's 2012 electric Focus. (Fast Company)

Supporters rally to save Toronto's Transit City; city councillor says “Transit City is a lot more than a transit plan, it’s a city-building exercise." (Toronto Star)

Stripping for public transit? Sunday was the 10th annual No Pants Subway Ride, an "international celebration of silliness."  (Good Magazine)

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Redistricting: The Northeast Slide Continues

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Numbers released earlier this week by the U.S. Census Bureau show that the population of the United States continues to shift to the South and West. Based on the census numbers, both New Jersey and New York will have to redraw their Congressional districts.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

The Future of NJN

Monday, December 20, 2010

The future of NJN was called into question when Governor Chris Christie announced that the state may no longer sustain the New Jersey public television and radio network. Senior staff representative for the Communications Workers of America Local 1032, Dudley Burdge, weighs in on this developing situation and the state of media coverage of New Jersey.

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Transportation Nation

The $128 Million Question: Where's the ARC Tunnel Letter?

Friday, December 17, 2010

(New York - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stood up at a press conference on Thursday morning at the state house in Trenton and uttered what could have been a $128 million phrase.

“The offer was a nice start,” he said.

He was referring to a letter from federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood that offered a rebate in the above amount against a $271 million charge the feds have presented the state for preliminary work on the cancelled ARC rail tunnel under the Hudson.

Christie killed the project in October because of projected cost overruns. LaHood, in the letter, proposed to give the state $128 million back for projects that improve air quality by cutting traffic congestion. But only if New Jersey pays the whole bill by December 24.

The governor’s positive reaction on Thursday was a reversal of sorts. The prior two days, he’d refused to acknowledge the potential deal because the letter that contained it, dated Tuesday, hadn’t been sent to him. Instead, it was addressed to New Jersey Senators Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg. By Wednesday evening, though the offer had been widely reported, Governor Christie’s spokesman Michael Drewniak insisted it still hadn’t reached the state house.

“Neither the Governor’s Office or New Jersey Transit has heard from Secretary LaHood,” said Drewniak in a statement. “If and when we are contacted by the secretary, we will review their proposal.”

The disconnect may have had something to do with testy public relations between the Republican Christie and the Democrat Lautenberg.

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NJ Senate Rejects Christie's Medical Marijuana Rules

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The New Jersey Senate has approved a resolution rejecting Gov. Chris Christie's proposed regulations on the state's medical marijuana program. Prior to the vote on Monday, state Sen. Nicholas Scutari said the governor's proposal was not in line with the intent of the law approved earlier this year.

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Transportation Nation

STUDY: NJ Gov's Decision to Kill ARC Tunnel Growing More Popular with Time

Thursday, December 09, 2010

(Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) NJ Governor Chris Christie keeps getting more support from voters for his decision to kill the trans-Hudson transit tunnel, according to a study released today by Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Christie took a stand against what he called wasteful spending in October when he killed the ARC transit tunnel that would have doubled NJ Transit capacity across between New York and New Jersey. At the time it was the biggest infrastructure project in the nation. The federal government wants $271 million back for what they spent on it. Christie's decision made him the darling of fiscal conservatives craving firm budget belt tightening. In New Jersey, just barely half of voters, 51 percent, supported his decision at the time. That number has grown to 56 percent according to the Rutgers poll.

“It is clear that across New Jersey, residents continue to support the governor’s decision to cancel the project,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers poll and professor of political science at Rutgers said in an emailed statement.

The poll also asked about a proposal to extend the New York City #7 subway line across the Hudson river, finding 74 percent of respondents—all New Jersey residents—support that concept. That project is only an idea at this point, without an official price tag, and would likely involve New York City paying a portion of the cost, something that was not the case with the ARC tunnel. Full study and statistical fun after the jump.

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New Jersey Begins Six-Day Black Bear Hunt

Monday, December 06, 2010

New Jersey's first black bear hunt in five years is underway. The state's Department of Environmental Protection says the hunt is part of a larger plan -- which includes public education, research and waste management -- to reduce the growing bear population and the number of complaints against them.

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Christie Back on the Local Circuit

Friday, November 26, 2010

These days, there is never a script at New Jersey Governor Chris Christie town hall meetings. He works the crowd like a right-wing Oprah. There's self-effacing humour about his appearance, but there's also a kind of intimacy and a spontaneous conversational quality that keeps the audience engaged.

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It's A Free Blog

Stucknation: Debt and Denial in New Jersey

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fallout from the recession still haunts budget makers in more than 500 of New Jersey's local governments. Scores of communities are resorting to layoffs. School systems, county agencies and long-insulated public authorities are all feeling the squeeze. On January 1st, a state-mandated two percent cap on local property tax increases kicks in. But local officials say none of the key reforms designed to help them cut costs — like reforming the civil service law — have been enacted yet. Those are hung up in a partisan debate in Trenton.

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