Greg Lalevee Calls for Transportation Trust Fund Stability
Greg Lalevee, Business Manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825, explains why the stability of the Transportation Trust Fund - the fund that pays for road and bridge repair - is critical to New Jersey and what he believes needs to be done to ensure the money designated to the TTF stays there.
"Greg Lalevee is a business manager, International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 825. Good to see you, Greg. Thanks for having me. So, for a while now, we've been talking about the Transportation Trust Fund, the gas tax, a stable source of funding for mass transit, for roads, bridges, et cetera, et cetera. We are taping on November 3, 2016. How are we doing? Happy that the -- that the measure passed through the assembly and senate and signed by the governor, a little bit hoping that we have a ballot question that passes next week. Okay. That's next week. To be clear, we are literally taping four days, four or five days, before an election. There's a ballot question, ballot question number 2. You will know, when you see this, as to whether the ballot question passes. And that ballot question, ballot question 2, dedicates... Help me on this. It dedicates dollars to go directly, the gas tax, to the Transportation Trust Fund. Help us on this. If it -- if the ballot question passes, all revenue from gas taxes will go to the Transportation Trust Fund and transportation projects. If it does not pass, ballot question number 2, Mr. Lalevee, what happens? Uh, we have a $1.2 billion tax increase that goes into the general fund that will get argued over, I guess, every budget cycle. And that would be, in your opinion, a good thing or bad thing? A disaster. Uh, nothing less than a disaster to our economy. Because? Uh, because transportation's such a vital part of our economy. We're a state that relies heavy on logistics, on tourism, on being a corridor state through the northeast, where the biggest population density in our country is. We have a port that relies on good transportation network to surround it. Uh, everything we do in this state is going to begin and end with transportation and transportation projects. Yeah. We've been having this conversation online and offline for a while now. And one of the things that strikes me about the way you talk about this is that you've been able to take it from transportation to the quality of our lives, the impact on our lives, meaning, what happens in our lives if we don't do this and we – now that we are because the last time you were with us, we kept asking, "What happens if we don't do this?" But let's assume, for argument's sake, that not only does the gas tax pass, then there's a Transportation Trust Fund in place, which it is, but that it's going to be a dedicated gas tax going directly and only to the Transportation Trust Fund..."