Lettiere: Transportation must play
key role in Smart Growth development
(Atlantic City) - Transportation impacts must be taken into account from the outset in the planning of major developments to avoid sprawl, traffic congestion and costly “after-the-fact” highway mitigation projects, Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere said today at the TransAction 2003 conference.
“We are at the end of a cycle of economic growth, presenting the State, local communities and developers with an opportunity to change their relationship for the better,” said Lettiere. “Governor McGreevey has moved boldly in pursuing his ‘Smart Growth’ philosophy to strike the right balance between economic development and quality of life. We can’t be paralyzed by a fear of ‘doing it differently’.”
Lettiere made his remarks here in a keynote address to the TransAction 2003 conference.
Transportation must be factored in at the earliest stages of project development to prevent sprawl, rather than called in at the completion of projects to build costly highway improvements to alleviate traffic congestion, Lettiere said. The Department of Transportation (DOT) has been reviewing many of its own projects to insure they do not promote sprawl development and increase traffic congestion, he said.
The DOT now targets most of its capital funding to Fix It First projects which repair and rehabilitate existing highways and bridges, Lettiere said. For the second year in a row, the DOT is proposing to spend just 4 percent of its capital budget on highway expansions. In addition, nearly half of the state’s transportation capital budget is now provided to NJ TRANSIT to expand and improve rail and bus service.
Lettiere cited a number of communities that have targeted development around rail stations to take advantage of transit service and reduce automobile traffic.