Menendez Fights For Vital Infrastructure Investments to Create Good Jobs, Ease Commutes in NJ

Menendez Fights For Vital Infrastructure Investments to Create Good Jobs, Ease Commutes in NJ

Senator’s Amendment to Fund Rebuilding of Aging Water Infrastructure Passes Committee Unanimously

Washington - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) announced that the Senate Finance Committee passed a number of provisions that will create good jobs and ease travel costs for commuters by investing in New Jersey's infrastructure. The Senator wrote and secured passage of an important provision that will help New Jersey communities put people to work rebuilding their aging water infrastructure by providing more affordable financing for water projects. Overall, yesterday's markup will provide the funding necessary for MAP-21, the bipartisan Senate transportation bill that will create or protect nearly 2 million jobs.

"New Jersey has a tremendous transportation network that needs federal investment to continue to thrive and we also have water infrastructure systems that are old and often falling apart," said Menendez. "I was proud to help pass this infrastructure bill through committee because it will create thousands of jobs in New Jersey and literally pave the way for economic growth."

Key actions by the Senator include:

-- Securing passage of the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Act, a bipartisan bill he introduced jointly with Representative Bill Pascrell, designed to create private sector jobs rebuilding our nation's crumbling water infrastructure by removing issuances of private activity bonds for water and wastewater projects from the annual volume caps - making these projects more affordable. The Senator's provision would allow local communities to leverage private capital markets in combination with other financial mechanisms to finance water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

--Helping extend benefits that will allow thousands of bus and train riders to continue saving hundreds on their commute. This provision restores the transit commuter benefit to $240 per month, as it was before it expired at the end of the year. Without this provision, transit riders are only getting a $125 per month tax-free transit benefit from their employers. Thousands of New Jersey public transportation riders have monthly commuting costs much greater than $125.

--Helping defeat an amendment offered by Senator Thune to take money that could be used to shore up mass transit funding and instead use it exclusively for highways. Both the public transportation and highway accounts need help to ensure solvency. While the bill ensures this, this amendment would have threatened to exhaust funds that could be used for public transportation next year.

--Securing passage of a provision to ensure thousands of New Jersey retirees can continue to have access to their health care and life insurance benefits by extending a provision of the tax code that allows companies to transfer money from an over funded pension plan (in excess of 125% funded) to fund these benefits.