A recent annual Chamber of Commerce survey suggests taxes are among the biggest concern for corporate leaders. Many respondents also cited New Jersey’s deteriorating infrastructure for mass-transit as an obvious issue for the upcoming year. The discord between New Jersey officials’ leadership and pending construction projects has caused distress and increased NJ Transportation Risk.
The crumbling transportation network is more concerning than the economy and minimum wage, as reported by the survey. The New Jersey Construction Industry plays a large role in the economy, as President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce stressed “It’s the lifeblood of New Jersey. It’s the foundation of our economy.”
However, 66 percent of the state’s roadways are in poor or mediocre condition, costing motorists an average $651 in repairs, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Contributing to these statistics, New Jersey’s bridges were ranked 6th worst in the country.
The lack of direction to promote these restoration and construction projects is a huge issue. Anthony Foxx, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary claimed that the lack of movement on plans to create a third tunnel from New Jersey to New York was a failure of leadership in both states. “I can only do what the region is willing to do. If the states don’t jump in and deal with this now, it will be hard for us to do something.” Further, Foxx said the lack of incentive or motivation to push this project is “almost criminal.”
What’s more, the Amtrak Gateway project, an infrastructure overhaul designed to increase passenger train function and capacity, is also stalling. Foxx aims to get the project off the ground prior to Obama’s Administration leaving office as he believes it to be the most important transportation priority nationwide.
The nation’s location provides the foundation for a robust transportation economy. As businesses depend on roads, bridges, and transit in order to properly function and thrive, the renovation of these structures is crucial.
Historically, New Jersey spends an average of $3 billion annually on infrastructure repairs over the last decade. While the budget is split equally between the state and federal governments, the state’s infrastructure budget for transportation will only sustain improvements until June 30, 2016. To combat the lack of funds, an increased gas-tax is speculated to take effect in addition to a 9 percent fare increase for mass-transit commuters.
As John Whiten of the New Jersey Policy Perspective so clearly stated “Failing to adequately invest in maintaining and modernizing that network puts the Garden State’s economic future at risk.”
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