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Infrastructure in the News 11.9.16

BAF IN THE NEWS

 

WAVE3 News: The Dangers of America's Aging Infrastructure

(Features a brief quote from Ray LaHood saying the infrastructure in the U.S. is ‘on life support’)

http://www.wave3.com/story/33667748/the-dangers-of-americas-aging-infrastructure

The 2007 Minneapolis bridge collapse on the city’s busy Interstate 35 shed much-needed light on the dangerous condition of America’s aging infrastructure. The collapse, which occurred during rush hour, killed 13 people and injured another 145.

 

Reuters: Philanthropy's drive for 'better cities' needs data and collaboration boost: experts

(Mayor Bloomberg is mentioned for his work helping cities improve)

http://www.businessinsider.com/r-philanthropys-drive-for-better-cities-needs-data-and-collaboration-boost-experts-2016-11

The doors of the Carnegie Library in Herne Hill, a leafy south London suburb, shut for the last time seven months ago after the cash-strapped local city government decided the building had not been used to its full potential.

NATIONAL NEWS

 

Washington Post: Trump’s White House win promises to reshape U.S. political landscape

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-white-house-win-promises-to-reshape-us-political-landscape/2016/11/09/62baa5e4-a66a-11e6-ba59-a7d93165c6d4_story.html

World markets shuddered, U.S. allies fretted and Americans celebrated or seethed Wednesday as Donald Trump looked ahead to the White House after a history-shaping victory that defied pollsters and galvanized legions of aggrieved voters in a loud repudiation of the status quo.

 

Washington Post: He won. Now what does Donald Trump do?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2016/11/09/he-won-now-what-does-donald-trump-do/

President-elect Donald Trump — the words do stick in my throat — looked and sounded in the early hours of Wednesday morning for the first time at least a little presidential. He was gracious to his opponent, saying we owe her a debt of gratitude for her service to the country. That’s a far cry from “Lock her up!” He properly declared his intention to unify the country and to work on behalf of all Americans.

 

Washington Post: Paul Ryan might not be happy about the first item on the agenda in Trump’s victory speech

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/11/09/paul-ryan-might-not-be-happy-about-the-first-item-on-the-agenda-in-trumps-victory-speech/

In a brief victory speech early Wednesday morning, Donald Trump devoted only a few words to his specific priorities for policymaking in the next administration. At the top of the agenda was a new investment in infrastructure.

 

The Hill: Nature’s solutions for infrastructure problems

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/energy-environment/304972-natures-solutions-for-infrastructure-problems

Amid the high dudgeon of the U.S. presidential election season, it is hard to keep my rosy-colored glasses affixed. But, there it is, in front of me—a ray of hope. And it shines on infrastructure.

 

The Hill: DC firm has advice for next president on infrastructure

https://origin-nyi.thehill.com/policy/transportation/305017-dc-firm-has-advice-for-next-president-on-infrastructure

The race for the White House is still underway, but one Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm already has a message for the next president: make infrastructure a top priority.

 

Associated Press: Dubai, Hyperloop One to study potential for Abu Dhabi line

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/dubai-hyperloop-one-to-study-potential-for-abu-dhabi-line/2016/11/08/24e60846-a627-11e6-ba46-53db57f0e351_story.html

The futuristic city-state of Dubai announced a deal on Tuesday with Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One to study the potential for building a line linking it to the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi.

 

Independent Institute: If You Want To Fix U.S. Infrastructure, Ask Government to Step Aside

http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=8919

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have proposed massive increases in infrastructure spending and a new federal infrastructure bank. Given government’s record of failure, however, Washington would do better to step aside and let private entrepreneurs repair America’s roads, bridges and ports.

 

Barron’s: Election 2016: Agreement on Infrastructure

http://www.barrons.com/articles/election-2016-agreement-on-infrastructure-1478668360

Ahead of yesterday’s election, there was little the candidates agreed on—but one important exception was infrastructure spending, InvestmentNews notes.

 

STATE NEWS

 

Washington Post: Metro chairman thinking a little too big in urging federal takeover

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/metro-chairman-thinking-a-little-too-big-in-urging-federal-takeover/2016/11/06/3d317edc-a20b-11e6-8d63-3e0a660f1f04_story.html

Jack Evans likes to think big. In the spring, he envisioned a complete shutdown of Metrorail lines for as long as six months to fix them. This fall, the Metro Board chairman said the feds should take over the entire system.

 

DNA Info Chicago: Transportation 'Lockbox' Amendment Gets Greenlight From Illinois Voters

https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20161108/jefferson-park/illinois-transportation-taxes-fees-lockbox-amendment-passes-constitution

Illinois voters overwhelmingly supported amending the constitution to require all transportation taxes and fees be spent exclusively on transportation projects.

 

New Jersey.com: N.J. votes to dedicate gas tax revenue to transportation projects

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/11/nj_voters_vote_on_ballot_question_dedicating_gas_t.html

New Jersey voters on Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment dedicating gas tax proceeds to transportation projects, locking in more than $1 billion a year in new revenue from the recently enacted 23 cent gas tax.

 

Austin American-Statesman: Austin transportation bond passes with 59 percent of the vote

http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/local/city-of-austin-transportation-bond-well-ahead-in-e/ns5hC/

With 87 percent of election day vote counted, and almost 300,000 votes tallied (counting the huge early vote), the $720 million transportation bond is well on its way to passage. About 59.1 percent of voters have said yes to the city of Austin issuing the debt over the next six to eight years, down less than a percentage point from the early vote percentage.

 

Voices of San Diego: County Officials Must Go Back to the Drawing Board on Transportation Funding

http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/politics/county-officials-must-go-back-drawing-board-transportation-funding/

It’s now unclear how SANDAG will pay for the many transportation, transit and open space projects envisioned in Measure A, which the agency still wants to happen but doesn’t have funding for.

 

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Fulton, Atlanta transportation taxes appear to win; MARTA approved

http://www.myajc.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/fulton-atlanta-transportation-taxes-appear-to-win-/ns5nJ/

Voters in the city of Atlanta on Tuesday approved raising the sales tax to expand MARTA and pay for other transportation improvements.

 

Maine Public Radio: Maine Voters Endorse $100M Transportation Bond

http://mainepublic.org/post/maine-voters-endorse-100m-transportation-bond#stream/0

Maine voters have approved a $100 million bond issue for transportation-related projects.

 

Sacramento Bee: Sacramento County transportation sales tax shy of passing in late returns

http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/election/local-election/article113405923.html

Measure B, the proposed half-cent transportation sales tax in Sacramento County, remained just shy late Tuesday of the necessary two-thirds support it would need to pass.

 

Associated Press Maine: Maine voters pass minimum wage hike, transportation bonds

http://www.sunjournal.com/news/0001/11/30/maine-voters-pass-minimum-wage-hike-transportation-bonds/2026719

Maine voters have decided to give the state's lowest wage earners a raise. They approved a ballot initiative boosts the hourly minimum wage of $7.50 to $12 by 2020.

By Brianna Gurciullo and Jennifer Scholtes | 11/09/2016 05:40 AM EDT

With help from Tanya Snyder

TRUMP'S AGENDA: With Donald Trump heading to the White House in January, eyes now turn to whether he will live up to one of his big promises for his first 100 days — a pledge to work with lawmakers to introduce legislation to "spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investment" over the course of a decade. Trump asserts that the bill would be "revenue neutral" and would leverage "public-private partnerships, and private investments through tax incentives." Not only has he promised that the legislation will be introduced in Congress during his first 100 days, but Trump has said he will push to get it passed within that timeframe as well.

New take: Trump's camp got specific about how to achieve that investment two weeks ago. The main idea: set up tax breaks that would plump returns for investors who are willing to lend money to state and local governments hoping to take on new infrastructure projects. Trump's advisers reason that the cost of doling out those tax breaks would be offset by the money the government would bring in from new tax revenue paid by the workers and companies undertaking those projects.

The catch: The tax scheme would only apply to money-making infrastructure projects, though. Think airports and toll roads.

A stimulus re-run? Trump sees in infrastructure "a golden opportunity for accelerated economic growth and more rapid productivity gains," according to his plan. But he "will need to be careful about his focus on infrastructure as an economic driver," as our Kathryn Wolfe and Jennifer Scholtes write for Pros, "since any package he tries to offer in his first 100 days will be sized up for its similarities to the 2009 economic stimulus."

"We are going to fix our inner cities, and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools hospitals," he said in his acceptance speech early Wednesday morning. "We are going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none and we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it."

IT'S DONE: Good morning and thanks for tuning in to POLITICO's Morning Transportation, your daily tipsheet on all things trains, planes, automobiles and ports. Please send tips, feedback and, of course, song lyrics to bgurciullo@politico.com or @brigurciullo.

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MEET THE MEMBERS: Read profiles of every newly elected member of Congress. The Campaign Pro team has biographical information, career history and more about the candidates who won Tuesday. See the profiles here.

SO LONG, JOHN MICA: The halls of Congress, and certainly the dais of the House Transportation Committee, will be a lot more humdrum come January — for the ever-zany Rep. John Mica has lost his seat. After some 24 years as a House lawmaker, the Florida Republican narrowly lost his race last night against 37-year-old Stephanie Murphy. As we reported for Pros, "the 73-year-old's exit from Congress means the loss of a well-known jokester and antagonist, whose legislative battles underscore the inherent struggle in trying to enact steady transportation funding streams."

Greatest hits: You could say Mica has always had a way with words. And a stroll down memory lane means the unearthing of a lot of wacky quotes. Our favorites: Amid his fight to get MAP-21 enacted, Mica told reporters to "get some hemorrhoid ointment and hang on" for a long markup. He joked that his peers were "smoking the funny weed" for suggesting Congress hold off on trying to pass a long-term infrastructure measure. And he said the Obama administration's proposal for investing in high-speed rail was like "giving Bernie Madoff another chance at handling your investment portfolio."

Mica points to redistricting, money: In a statement Tuesday night, Mica said: "The changes in the court-ordered redistricting, combined with a massive amount of money spent against us, made this a difficult and challenging race. It has been my honor to serve the district, state, and nation and I'm proud of my accomplishments both in Florida and in leadership positions in Congress."

SHUSTER SURVIVES TO KEEP FIGHTING FOR ATC OVERHAUL: Rep. Bill Shuster won reelection Tuesday, allowing the House Transportation chairman to carry on his fight to separate air traffic control from the FAA. The Republican beat Art Halvorson, a tea party challenger turned Democratic nominee, in Pennsylvania's 9th District. The FAA extension runs through September, giving Shuster only months to persuade fellow lawmakers to shift ATC duties to a nonprofit corporation. Such a measure passed his committee in the spring, but it failed to go any further.

AND DENHAM: Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) also barely hung on to his seat against a tough challenger, winning by less than 10,000 votes, according to AP. Along with Shuster's win, that preserves both the top of the Transportation Committee food chain, and the apparent front-runner to replace him.

KATKO HANGS ON: Rep. John Katko's race was supposed to be a close one, but the New York Republican led his challenger by more than 20 points last night. So expect to see him dabbling in transportation security issues again in the upcoming Congress, wielding that same subcommittee gavel on the House Homeland Security panel.

TRANSIT AT THE BALLOT BOX: Transportation funding measures cleaned up at the polls Tuesday. Seattle voters approved a $54 billion transit package to fund light rail, bus rapid transit and commuter train service. Both Illinois and New Jersey voters directed their state legislatures to keep their hands off gas tax revenues, insisting on keeping those funds in a "lockbox" exclusively for transportation uses. Atlanta voters approved initiatives funding transit and road improvements. In the D.C. area, Arlington and Fairfax voters supported a $58.8 million bond measure and a $120 million bond measure, respectively, to fund improvements to Metro. And Prince George's County voters gave the thumbs-up to a bond measure that will fund, among other things, the Purple Line. We'll have a more complete rundown of Tuesday's transportation initiatives later today.

PROJECT WING LOSES SPEED: Google parent Alphabet seems to be scaling back its drone delivery venture, Project Wing. Bloomberg reports that Project Wing has scrapped a partnership with Starbucks mostly because of "disagreements about the access to customer data that Alphabet wanted." After the head of the project, Dave Vos, left last month, Project Wing has stopped hiring. Some people working on the project, part of Alphabet's "X" lab, were told to search for positions in other areas of the company. "The decisions are part of a broader Alphabet effort to rein in spending and try to turn more experimental projects from loss-making risky bets into real businesses," Bloomberg reports, noting that regulators currently don't allow drone deliveries unless they occur on approved testing sites.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Vos and Sean Mullaney, the head of the project's business strategy, were forced out by Alphabet "in large part because of conflict between the group's engineers and its commercial team, according to the people familiar with the matter."

HEARING ALERT: The House E&C Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade will hold a hearing Nov. 15 on driverless cars to discuss, among other topics, how autonomous vehicles could affect safety, mobility, efficiency, access and the economy. It'll also look at NHTSA's new guidance for self-driving cars. Subcommittee Chairman Michael Burgess (R-Texas) said in a statement that the members will study "any regulatory roadblocks" to the development of driverless car technology. And industry representatives will weigh in on "how we bring self-driving vehicles to consumers and businesses alike and what protections should be considered as best practices and guidelines continue to be developed," Burgess said.

SHIFTING GEARS: CSX promoted Michael Rutherford to vice president, industrial products. He was assistant vice president, industrial products, and previously served as director of the "Voice of the Customer" team, director of marketing and director of strategic planning.

At the National Air Transportation Association, Rebecca Mulholland was promoted to chief of staff/director of legislative affairs. (h/t POLITICO Influence)

THE AUTOBAHN:

— "Airline executives worry protectionist views could slow air travel." The Wall Street Journal.

— "Tesla buys Germany's Grohmann Engineering to help ramp up electric car production." Reuters.

— "Dubai, Hyperloop One to study potential for Abu Dhabi line." The Associated Press.

— "GoPro to recall new Karma drones on reports of power failure." Bloomberg.

— "Trucker J.B. Hunt will add to fleet in 2017." The Wall Street Journal.

THE COUNTDOWN: DOT appropriations run out in 30 days. The FAA reauthorization expires in 324 days. Highway and transit policy is up for renewal in 1,424 days.

THE DAY AHEAD:

12 p.m. — NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind gives a talk called "Highly Automated Vehicles: Challenges and Opportunities" at Volpe. 55 Broadway, Kendall Square, Cambridge, Mass. Registration for a livestream is here.

Did we miss an event? Let MT know at transpocalendar@politicopro.com.

To view online:
https://www.politicopro.com/tipsheets/morning-transportation/2016/11/trumps-plan-for-1-trillion-in-infrastructure-investments-020045

Stories from POLITICO Pro

Trump victory turns spotlight on trillion-dollar infrastructure promise Back

By Kathryn A. Wolfe and Jennifer Scholtes | 11/09/2016 03:20 AM EDT

Donald Trump's stunning victory in the bruising presidential battle will now focus attention on one of the Republican president-elect's biggest campaign promises: how will he deliver on his plan to spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investments over 10 years.

Specifically, Trump has promised to work with lawmakers during his first 100 days to introduce "revenue-neutral" legislation that would leverage "public-private partnerships, and private investments through tax incentives" to fuel that spending.

His pledge for $1 trillion in investment, according a plan crafted by economist Peter Navarro and billionaire financier Wilbur Ross, would rely heavily on private funding that's driven by a tax credit -- whose cost they say would be offset by tax revenues reaped from the jump in business activity. That tax scheme would apply only to money-making infrastructure projects like toll roads and airports.

"We are going to fix our inner cities, and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools hospitals. We are going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none and we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it," he said in his acceptance speech early Wednesday morning.

But just what can he get done during his tenure in the Oval Office? In part, it depends on how you parse what he's committed to doing.

Trump has promised to "get a fund," "make a phenomenal deal with the low interest rates" and "do infrastructure bonds for the country." Throughout his campaign, the now-president-elect has marketed himself as uniquely qualified to both build up the nation's transportation systems and to accomplish that feat more cheaply and efficiently than under the leadership of previous presidents.

"We build roads, and they cost two and three and four times what they are supposed to cost," Trump said during the first presidential debate in late September, bragging that the hotel he constructed in the Old Post Office building near the White House is "under budget, ahead of schedule ... and that's what this country should be doing."

His plan promises to "transform America's crumbling infrastructure into a golden opportunity for accelerated economic growth and more rapid productivity gains." But Trump will need to be careful about his focus on infrastructure as an economic driver since any package he tries to offer in his first 100 days will be sized up for its similarities to the 2009 economic stimulus.

And that's exactly what boosters like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are worried about. Ed Mortimer, executive director of transportation infrastructure at the Chamber, warned against reliving the failures of the Obama administration's "shovel-ready" jobs push and said it would be unwise to try to reinvent the wheel with a slew of new programs.

Mortimer said the business community wants the next president to think about the country's long-term transportation needs, which will — in turn — create jobs over several years. What the Chamber doesn't want to see, Mortimer explained, is a plan like the 2009 stimulus that pursues immediate projects with a sole focus on quickly employing people.

"Obviously we think infrastructure is the backbone of the economy ... but just putting a bunch of money in infrastructure isn't going to jolt the economy and create a lot of new jobs," Mortimer said. "It has to be part of a longer-term economic plan."

Grand plans don't need to mean a bevy of new programs, he noted. And Mortimer said the Chamber is looking for a proposal that will "supplement" initiatives created under the last two highway and transit bills. The same goes, he said, for financing mechanisms the Department of Transportation is already using, such as TIFIA.

"We are respectfully asking that, instead of building a new infrastructure bank, maybe we just enhance the current one that we have," Mortimer said, noting that lawmakers from both sides of the aisle support improvements to TIFIA financing mechanisms. "We don't need a whole new program. We just need to increase funding in the existing programs and let them work."

It's a common theme among transportation boosters — financing instruments are great, but what people want is a fix to the habitually-deficient Highway Trust Fund, which fuels most federal highway and transit spending.

Bud Wright, executive director of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, also said an infrastructure bank can't supplant an injection of funding.

"The federal government should be in the position to step up with its own funding," Wright said, adding that "it's hard to say how well transportation would do in competing for the dollars that would be available for an infrastructure bank."

In his infrastructure plan, Trump criticized Hillary Clinton for proposing an infrastructure bank that he said would be "controlled by politicians and bureaucrats."

Back

Mica, bomb-throwing quipster, ousted in tight race Back

By Jennifer Scholtes | 11/08/2016 09:19 PM EDT

A 12-term winning streak has come to an end for Rep. John Mica, one of the more colorful characters to have shaped modern transportation policy, according to The Associated Press.

The Florida Republican relinquished the House Transportation Committee chairmanship and the power that comes with that gavel years ago. But for infrastructure leaders, the 73-year-old's exit from Congress means the loss of a well-known jokester and antagonist, whose legislative battles underscore the inherent struggle in trying to enact steady transportation funding streams.

After winning in various redrawn Florida districts for some 24 years, Mica will now cede his seat to 37-year-old Stephanie Murphy, who eked out a win over Mica, 52 percent to 48 percent, with 98 percent of precincts reporting as of Tuesday evening.

Mica will be remembered for his incendiary soundbites, disdain for TSA and Amtrak, and for shepherding through MAP-21, which though short for a surface transportation bill, was nevertheless heralded a win.

But pushing MAP-21 through wasn't without its struggles.

He fielded criticism for his leadership on the bill, though it was widely believed at the time that decisions made that ultimately tanked the House's version of the bill — such as a doomed attempt to take transit out of the Highway Trust Fund — were at the behest of the GOP leadership.

To look over Mica's record is to sift through the many campy remarks that have made him so memorable among his 434 colleagues in the House. Amid his fight to get MAP-21 enacted, Mica told reporters to "get some hemorrhoid ointment and hang on" for a long markup. He joked that his peers were "smoking the funny weed" for suggesting Congress hold off on trying to pass a long-term infrastructure measure. And he said the Obama administration's proposal for investing in high-speed rail was like "giving Bernie Madoff another chance at handling your investment portfolio."

Even in the final days of the closest campaign of his career, Mica didn't hold back on the kind of colorful quips that have earned him a reputation as a mud-slinging oddball. He joked about his "terrible press operation" in a speech to campaign volunteers and said his constituents wouldn't know his opponent "from Adam's house cat."

For all those tongue-in-cheek insults, Mica has fielded similarly ferocious barbs from his political adversaries.

In 2012, then-Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Mica was running a "one-man show" in his effort to pass "one of the most deficient, handicapped bills" he had ever seen. Mica shot back that it must be "difficult" for LaHood to understand his approach "if you have a chauffeur pick you up in the morning and you aren't pumping the gas yourself, and it's not coming out of your pocket."

Sen. Harry Reid, who was Senate Majority Leader at the time, said Mica needed to "get a life," that "it's because of him that the transportation bill is a total failure" and that "Mica has been an absolute flop at leading that committee."

Reid and LaHood were not alone in their frustration over MAP-21. Although many of his colleagues argued that House leaders were really the ones driving the bill, top GOP lawmakers criticized Mica for crafting a wildly unpopular bill loaded with poison-pill provisions including highly controversial language authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline.

Mica's insistence on cutting rural airport subsidies also led to a two-week FAA shutdown in 2011. But he and former Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.), who served as ranking member at the time, eventually helped shepherd a four-year FAA authorization to enactment after more than 1,500 days of stopgaps.

Rahall said at the time that he and Mica had "no animosities toward each other whatsoever," but that his GOP counterpart wasn't always the one in the drivers seat, hinting at mandates from on high.

"Sometimes he's not in control. And he thought he would be when he became chairman, we all thought he would be," Rahall said in 2012.

That year, Mica said there was "no script" for his tenure as chairman and that his reign had been "one of the more difficult chairmanships because the others had other tools like earmarks, like a lot more flexibility."

"The whole game in the past has been: When you became chairman ... the biggest gorilla got the most bananas," Mica said. "That I stopped. I've never done that."

Even so, at least back home in Florida, the congressman's involvement in transportation policy has been heralded as a win for his constituents.

In endorsing Mica in his "tossup"-ranked race this year, the Orlando Sentinel said Mica's "clout" has been "critical" to securing federal funding to upgrade a local swath of the interstate, to building a commuter line in central Florida and to expanding Orlando International Airport.

The Sentinel's editorial board said Mica "has continued to wield — through his tireless efforts and two-decades-plus accumulation of institutional knowledge — outsize influence in how federal transportation funding is directed."

But in the end, that wasn't enough.

Back

Voters approve ballot measure to dedicate gas tax despite last-minute opposition Back

By Ryan Hutchins | 11/09/2016 12:25 AM EDT

New Jersey voters on Tuesday approved a constitutional amendment that will dedicate gas tax revenue to transportation projects, delivering a political loss to the state's newly ambitious lieutenant governor who had raised concerns about the previously uncontroversial measure.

The Associated Press called the race just after midnight.

With 90 percent of precincts reporting, the measure had passed by a margin of 180,000 votes, or 53.5 percent, according to the AP.

Rejection of ballot question two would have done nothing to roll back the state's recent 23-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase and would have left the new revenue stream vulnerable to possible diversions if state leaders were desperate to plug budget gaps in future years. It also had the potential to complicate plans for $12 billion in borrowing that will be used to support infrastructure work, though officials say they would move ahead with their plans regardless.

The question was a simple one: "Do you approve amending the Constitution to dedicate all revenue from the State motor fuels tax and petroleum products gross receipts tax to the Transportation Trust Fund?" It passed both houses of the state Legislature in January with just one "no" vote and overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle. Gov. Chris Christie endorsed its passage, even as he fought with lawmakers about the gas tax increase.

But the proposed amendment drew fresh attention last month when Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, declaring her independence from the governor as she explores a potential gubernatorial run, joined conservative radio host Bill Spadea in a drive-time interview in which she denounced the measure. As he had been doing for some time, she argued that voters could blow up the hard-won $16 billion infrastructure plan, saying, "what's done can be undone."

"A vote for question number two is a vote for the gas tax. If you like the gas tax then you're going to like number two," Guadagno said in the interview on New Jersey 101.5. "Flip it around: if you oppose the gas tax then you have to vote against number two because it requires them all to go back to the drawing board because they can't borrow the money they need to make it work."

She argued the law authorizing the eight-year infrastructure plan links its $12 billion in borrowing power to voter approval of the constitutional amendment. And indeed, the nonpartisan Office of Legislative Services says the borrowing is "contingent" on passage of the amendment.

Under the state constitution, voters are required to approve new borrowing unless it will be drawn against revenue that is dedicated for a specific purpose. But, defeat or not, state officials said they could still borrow the money against some other revenue stream.

The lieutenant governor also complained that borrowing was out of control and that the $12 billion planned under this latest Transportation Trust Fund authorization was just too much, even though the plan calls for a record amount of pay-as-you-go spending.

Some said Guadagno was being intentionally misleading and destructive.

"It's a question of, do we or don't we want to dedicate the revenue? And if we chose not to dedicate, where does it go?" said Greg Lalevee, chairman of the Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative and the vice chairman of the Transportation Trust Fund Authority.

He said the claim that voting against the dedication would in any way reduce the gas tax was a stretch of the imagination.

"I don't see how you get from point A to point B," he said. "So that's why I think it's misleading to make people think you could."

Guadagno continued to hammer away at the issue after her radio interview, joining Spadea in a Twitter campaign to "#VoteNoOnTwo." She repeatedly tweeted a one-page paper that, she said, would set the record straight on the ballot measure, she retweeted those who opposed the measure and she explained her decision to buck Christie in an interview with POLITICO New Jersey.

A few others joined the fight, including Republican state Sen. Mike Doherty and Democratic state Sen. Raymond Lesniak, both of whom voted against the gas tax increase.

"What I've been telling people is pick your poison. A yes vote does put the money in a lockbox, but it allows the unbridled borrowing that had been the biggest factor in getting us so deeply in debt that we needed a 23-cent gas tax increase," Lesniak said. "The no vote avoids that, but at the same time it does open it up to the Legislature and governor siphoning off some of the money. But I think the borrowing danger in the biggest danger."

Supporters — and even those who strongly opposed the gas tax increase — said the campaign was foolish and deceptive, giving voters the impression they could kill the gas tax when all they were doing was leaving it open to raids by future administrations.

"People are entitled to their own opinions," Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a Democrat, said as worry grew last week. "But they aren't entitled to their own facts."

Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, a Republican who is running for governor next year, voted against the gas tax increase but said there was no reason to oppose the ballot measure.

"This is typical New Jersey," he said. "First we screw taxpayers with a 23-cent, overnight increase, and then we confuse the hell out of them on a ballot question."

Back