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New Jersey Senate committee approves infra bank

New Jersey has moved a step closer to having a separate financial entity that facilitates funding for transportation projects in the Garden State.

A New Jersey Senate committee has approved a bill proposing to set up a transportation infrastructure bank, potentially bringing the Garden State a step closer to having a separate financial entity that facilitates funding for transportation projects.

The bill, which aimed to establish a state transportation infrastructure bank and energy bank within the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust, was approved by the New Jersey Senate Transportation Committee on Monday, according to the New Jersey Legislature website.

It was referred to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for further consideration, which will take place on June 5.

The primary benefit from having such a bank will come from transportation loans which are repaid with monies from outside the current transportation system, such as new user fees, according to the bill.

“These loans will generate additional construction activity with no new state expenditures, allowing the state to either maintain the same level of construction activity at a lower cost or a larger amount of construction activity at the same cost,” it said.

The bill permits the trust to issue bonds in maturities of up to 30 years for all types of projects and creates an interim financing programme for transportation and energy projects matching the existing interim financing programme for environmental projects.

The New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust was established in 1986, and aimed to provide low-cost financing for the construction of environmental infrastructure projects.

The Senate Transportation Committee first approved the bill in October 2012, and the full Senate and Assembly approved it in early January this year. The bill received bipartisan support in both chambers, but Governor Chris Christie chose not to sign it before the end of the legislative session, according to local media in New Jersey.