U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) issued the following statement in response to a CNBC report that shows the state of New Jersey's transportation and infrastructure hurting the state's ranking as a business-friendly state. Overall, New Jersey fell in the rankings from 30th place last year to 41st place this year. New Jersey fell from 23rd place to 41st place in the transportation and infrastructure category.
"It's no surprise that businesses are discouraged by the transportation outlook in New Jersey. We say transportation is the lifeblood of New Jersey's economy because it's true. Unfortunately, Governor Christie has turned away billions in federal transportation funding, shortchanged infrastructure projects and punished commuters and businesses with steep toll hikes. Clearly the Christie Administration doesn't understand or appreciate the importance of transportation to our state's economy.
"Governor Christie deceived the public with false information and put on a political show for national Republicans when he killed the ARC Tunnel, and now we're suffering the real life consequences. The Governor and Port Authority made theater out of imposing steep toll hikes on commuters and businesses last year and now we are beginning to see the damage of this unfair policy. This report should be a wake-up call for the Christie Administration to stop chasing business away and invest in New Jersey to get our infrastructure up to 21st Century standards. Governor Christie should work with me to fund the Gateway Tunnel project and suspend the next round of Port Authority toll hikes if he wants to improve our standing and make New Jersey a more attractive destination for businesses to thrive."
Lautenberg, the Chairman of the Senate Surface Transportation Subcommittee and a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, has secured more than a billion dollars in infrastructure investment for New Jersey. In November 2011, Lautenberg secured an initial $15 million for Amtrak to begin design and engineering work on the Gateway Tunnel project and is working to secure another $20 million this year.