New Jersey Gov.
Chris Christie’s plan to spend billions of dollars to rebuild the New Jersey State Education Trust Fund (ESTF) is on track to cost about $2.6 billion, according to a state auditor’s audit.
The audit, released Thursday, said Christie’s proposed spending plan includes an additional $2 billion for the ESTF to rebuild a state-owned ferry terminal, $1.6 million to create a new scholarship fund, and $2 million to rebuild New Jersey’s public school system.
Christie’s plan includes a $1 billion increase for the state’s “state capital funding” to help finance the new ferry terminal and the scholarship fund.
But the auditor said that figure will not cover the additional costs Christie is seeking to spend on repairing bridges and tunnels.
The ESTF is responsible for the $6.2 billion cost of the $1 trillion, $2 trillion bridge project that Christie’s administration is proposing to fund through a combination of federal stimulus and state borrowing.
The project is scheduled to begin in 2019 and take two decades to complete.
The auditor said the additional funding for the bridge project will not be covered by the state capital funding because it would come from the state, not the federal government.
The state has been pressing Christie to approve $4.4 billion in additional federal stimulus funds to help it finance the bridge repair project, but Christie has refused.
Christies administration says the state will still have to pay back the federal stimulus money.
The governor’s office did not respond to questions about the audit.
New Jersey is the only state in the nation with a $20 billion bond issue to pay for bridge repairs.
Christie has said that the state is already paying off the $4 billion bond, and he has said the $2-billion in additional capital funding will be used for projects to repair roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
ChristIE: New Jersey is not paying off its debt because we have not built our bridges yet.
He’s not spending money because we are building bridges.
Christie announces $2 Billion for NJESTF to repair NJ bridges, tunnels.
https://t.co/xJx8V9X1tO pic.twitter.com/e6gKwXpzHl — NJGov (@NJGov) October 18, 2018But the auditor, who is overseeing the state of New Jersey, said the state has a history of not spending its capital funds on infrastructure projects.
Christi’s plan, if approved, would be the largest in the state history, the auditor noted.
The Christie administration has been struggling to complete the repair of bridges and roads since it was inaugurated last year.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and NJ Transit have spent millions repairing the roads and bridges in New Jersey.
The DOT and NJT are still working to fix major bridges in the Garden State, including the New York-New Jersey Turnpike, the Hudson River Bridge and the George Washington Bridge.
The bridges were designed to last for 500 years, but they are now expected to take 20 years or more to be fully fixed.