NJ: Mixed opinions on recently passed federal transit legislation

For New Jersey, the newly passed federal transportation bill is like a half-paved highway — some parts smooth, and some parts that could make for a bumpy ride.

Transit in the state was given $70 million more a year, but a popular federal commuter tax benefit failed to be reinstated to its full amount.

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), the Senate Transportation Subcommittee chair, said New Jersey has secured more federal funding than ever — almost $1 billion annually in highway funding and more than $70 million more per year for transit — and touted the transportation bill as a "jobs bill" that will protect more than 54,000 highway and transit jobs in the state.

But he also expressed disappointment over the reduction of the federal commuter tax benefit from $230 to $125 a month at the beginning of the year, a rollback that amounted to a hidden fare hike for more than 100,000 mass transit riders from New Jersey.

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