WESTFIELD, NJ — About 25 members of Laborers International Union of North America Local 472 rallied outside of State Senator Tom Kean Jr.’s Westfield office Wednesday to express their displeasure that legislators allowed the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) to expire June 30.
The Senate balked at an Assembly plan last week to increase New Jersey’s gasoline tax by 23 cents per gallon to replenish the TTF.
The estimated $2 billion raised annually by the gas tax would be used to replenish the state’s battered Transportation Trust Fund over the next 10 years. As a member of the General Assembly, former Warren resident Robert "Bob" Franks wrote the law establishing New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund and effectively advocated for numerous improvements to mass transportation.
“We do most of the work on roads and bridges,” said LiUNA organizer Vlad Ivkovic. “We are here because we won’t have jobs if the fund goes bust. We are here to urge our leaders to do their jobs so we can do our jobs.”
Laborers in orange shirts chanted and held signs in front of Kean's office next to, coincidentally, a protest outside of Congressman Leonard Lance’s office by gun control advocates. Eventually, they had a chance to speak with Senator Kean himself.
"I was happy to meet with them. We had a good conversation,” Kean told TAP into Westfield. “The 23-cent gas tax hike is simply too high. I understand the importance of a healthy and sustained infrastructure.”