For immediate release
May 7, 2008
Zoe Baldwin, Kate Slevin
Analysis Shows Smart Investment Trend at NJDOT Continues, but Points to Trouble Ahead
Report finds wider roads will comprise a growing share of future transportation dollars
A new analysis of the NJDOT’s capital program shows a continued commitment to maintenance and repair, but finds a worrying trend of increased investment in highway expansion in coming years. The report was released today by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a regional policy watchdog organization.
The report finds that 44% of the NJDOT’s 2009 capital program is dedicated to fixing and maintaining roadways and bridges, with only 1.5% going to expansion projects. In future years, however, the percentage slated for highway expansion grows to nearly 8%.
Several themes emerged from Tri-State’s analysis:
1. NJDOT continues to prioritize road and bridge maintenance, dedicating 44% of the FY2009 capital spending to repair, rehabilitation, resurfacing, and replacement projects. NJDOT’s prioritization of “fix-it-first” projects is critical given the state’s pressing infrastructure needs – the
2. Spending on capacity expansion projects is projected to increase in coming years, threatening to undermine NJDOT’s “fix-it-first” goals. While FY2009 funding for expansion projects remains a sliver of the total capital program at just 1.5%, by 2011 the share of total funding slated for widening and new roads is projected to jump to nearly 8%.
3. Progress on smart growth projects has stalled. Only a handful of the 17 New Jersey Future in Transportation (NJFIT) smart growth projects in the hopper are slated to receive funding. And two of the projects originally tapped for smart growth improvements have been transformed into major widening projects, all but abandoning efforts to find a more sustainable congestion relief solution.
4. Funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects has slipped, with the total amount dedicated to those improvements falling 14% and the share of total funding declining by 12%. Sustained funding is critical if the state hopes to continue to reduce bicyclist and pedestrian deaths. According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,
The Campaign offers several recommendations for halting NJDOT’s backsliding:
The full report can be found at www.tstc.org/reports/NJDOT_Trouble_Ahead.pdf
The Tri-State Transportation Campaign is a non-profit organization working toward a more balanced, transit-friendly and equitable transportation system in