Menendez, AAA Outline Impact of Trump Transportation Budget Cuts on NJ

Menendez, AAA Outline Impact of Trump Transportation Budget Cuts on NJ

Memorial Day getaway marred by looming transportation cuts in Trump Budget that could lead to bumpy road ahead for motorists, more train delays


As millions hit the road for the long Memorial Day weekend, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez today joined AAA - New Jersey to detail the local impact of painful transportation cuts in the Trump Administration’s budget released this week that slashes critical funding to repair our roads, bridges and rails, threatens to derail the Gateway Project, and calls for expanding highway tolls on Interstates like I-78, 80, 195, 287 and 295 that are currently toll-free.

 “Whether you’re stuck in traffic or waiting for a late train at Penn Station, getting around New Jersey has been an absolute disaster.  People are rightfully angry and frustrated,” said Sen. Menendez, the ranking member of the Senate’s transit subcommittee.  “But things aren’t going to get better under the Trump Administration’s budget.  It’s a road that leads us to more delays, more missed opportunities, more frustration, and more money out of the pockets of New Jerseyans who deserve better.”


President Trump’s budget cuts $2.4 billion or 13% from U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) discretionary programs, and proposes significant cuts to Highway Trust Fund programs, putting the state’s economy and aging infrastructure in jeopardy:  

  • Slashes $95 billion over ten years from the federal Highway Trust Fund to repair roads and bridges;
  • Cuts funding for Amtrak; 
  • Eliminates the transit New Starts program, the primary federal funding source for the Gateway Project to build new Hudson River rail tunnels, replace Portal Bridge and improve service along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor;
  • Eliminates the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program, which has invested $119,908,056 in shovel-ready transportation projects benefiting New Jersey since the program was created in 2009.

“New Jerseyans know that investment in infrastructure is vital to protecting our quality of life, reducing commutes and keeping our roadways safe,” said Cathleen Lewis, AAA - New Jersey’s director of public affairs and government relations.


The Trump budget also includes a provision to relax current federal tolling restrictions on Interstate highways.  This would allow for tolls on I-78, 80, 195, 287 and 295, which are currently toll-free in New Jersey.  A separate budget measure would allow the private sector to construct, operate, and maintain interstate rest areas.

 “The Trump Administration’s budget falls woefully short of meeting our transportation needs, and to fill the gap, it actually wants to monetize our Interstates and add tolls to our highways.  We’ve been down this bumpy road in New Jersey before; it doesn’t work,” Sen. Menendez said.  “New Jerseyans already pay among the nation’s highest tolls on the Turnpike, Parkway and at our river crossings.  We’ve had to swallow a gas tax hike to replenish our state’s Transportation Trust Fund.  The last thing we need—or can afford—is more tolls.”     

AAA Travel predicts that more than 975,000 New Jersey residents will travel for the first “summer” holiday, a 2.5 percent increase over the 953,000 that traveled last year, and the most since 2005, when more than one million New Jerseyans headed out of town.

 Nationally, AAA estimates that more than 39.3 million will travel this year, one million (2.7 percent) more than last year, creating the highest Memorial Day travel volume since 2005.