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Living with the Future in Mind
Goals and Indicators for New Jersey's Quality of Life
First Annual Update to the Sustainable State Project Report 2000

Indicator 26


Additional  Efficient Transportation and Land Use  Indicators

27 - Vehicle Miles Traveled

28 - Workplace Transportation Options

29 - Traffic Fatalities

Need for Road and Bridge Repairs

The accumulated cost of repair work necessary to bring New Jersey's roads and bridges up to standard: Increasing

  Things to think about 

In the past, as much as 40 percent of New Jersey’s construction and maintenance dollars went toward building new roads, often promoting suburban sprawl. In fiscal year 2001, however, only 4 percent of the state’s proposed transportation capital investments is budgeted for new capacity highway improvements.

Recent enactment of the "Statewide Transportation and Local Bridge Bond Act of 1999" marks an increased emphasis in the repair of existing infrastructure in cities and suburbs.

Many major roads were built in New Jersey in the 1950s and 1960s. 40 years later, these roads and bridges need significant repair.

Transportation decision-making is fragmented among federal, state, local, and regional agencies.

 

Importance

Our daily lives take place within New Jersey’s vast transportation infrastructure. Without proper maintenance, our options and opportunities - economic and social - will deteriorate along with our roads, bridges, railways, and ports. The backlog of repairs on our existing bridges and roads stands at an all-time high. Our transportation resources have become strained through building costly and inefficient new infrastructure to accommodate sprawl-type development in more rural areas, rather than using them for upkeep of infrastructure in older suburbs, towns, and cities.

Economic

An efficient and dependable transport system is a basic and necessary ingredient for any kind of economic success. Transportation is especially important to our economy, as New Jersey is an international shipping and transportation hub for cars, trucks, ships, airplanes, and trains. Maintenance costs are simply part of the price of doing business. However, as with all business expenses, we can be dragged down by the cost if our transportation and land use systems are not planned and do not operate efficiently. New Jersey has a special economic burden as a corridor state with much "pass through" traffic that doesn’t contribute much to our economy.

Environmental

The environmental impact of a deficit in infrastructure repair depends on the reasons for the deficit and the actions New Jerseyans take in response. When the repair backlog exists because new roads and bridges are being built at the expense of the old, there are environmental consequences. Development will move to the new roads, create new demand in new areas, trigger the need for more roads, and speed the pace of paving New Jersey’s remaining farms and forests.

Social

Some of our most pressing social problems - urban decay and poverty- may be caused in part by a declining infrastructure of housing, streets, and neighborhoods in urban areas.

Knowledge Gaps

This indicator does not report on the backlog of repair work for non-road infrastructure, such as trains or sidewalks. It does not take into account many of New Jersey’s smaller roads that are not under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

Data Source: NJ Department of Transportation

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Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2006
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Modified: April 30, 2007

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