Unions estimate that 3,000 construction workers are entering their second month of joblessness because of inaction on the state’s Transportation Trust Fund. Due to a dispute between Gov. Chris Christie and the Democratic Legislature, construction has been halted on all but the direst road repair projects and toll-producing highways until the impasse is resolved.
The Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative has estimated that $3.5 billion in roadwork projects are currently idle, during the busy season for roadwork.
“For the thousands of workers that are going on month two without work, disaster isn’t imminent, it’s here,” said Greg Lalevee, chairman of ELEC, in a prepared statement.
“The fact that we have gotten to the point where some legislators are discussing extending unemployment benefits for those out of work shows just how out of hand this situation has become,” continued Lalevee. “This transportation crisis was a self-inflicted wound caused by the inaction of our leaders in Trenton. The conversation shouldn’t be about unemployment benefits, it should be about funding the TTF and getting New Jersey’s middleclass back to work.”