Reauthorization of federal bill is vital
to New Jersey and the nation
With hundreds of infrastructure improvements, safety upgrades and public transportation initiatives under way in our state, we cannot ignore how vital the federal funding component is to New Jersey's transportation capital program.
While the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund provides nearly half of the $2.6 billion necessary each year to enable the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and NJ TRANSIT to continue their missions, approximately $1.4 billion of the capital program relies on funding provided by the federal government.
This funding source, known as TEA-21, the Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century, is now overdue to be reauthorized, updated and enhanced. To see how much this delay is costing New Jersey, click on www.njdot.nj.gov.
America has a long history of investing in transportation because it constitutes the infrastructure of our economic system. Transportation drives our country's economic growth and global competitiveness, and affects our quality of life.
Reauthorization of federal transportation program funding by Congress must be a priority so we can continue to protect and improve transportation safety, repair and enhance our systems, and serve and meet the mobility needs of our drivers.
Investments in transportation are investments in people. New Jersey's transportation network is the vital means through which our children return from school, seniors and the disabled gain mobility and commuters have affordable mass transit options to get to work. Every American is affected by the funding and program delays. Disinvestment will also harm future generations.
As the newly installed president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), I will continue to lead the fight not only to ensure that New Jersey receives an equitable share of federal transportation dollars, but also challenge our federal government to solidify its commitment to increased transportation funding and sound transportation policy for the nation as a whole.
Working with our Congressional delegation and other national leaders, I will strongly urge them to make transportation funding a top priority to provide a reliable transportation system to the citizens of New Jersey and the nation.
The issue of transportation financing across the country will continue to be a source of fierce debate in the coming months. However, there is little disagreement that there is a critical need to maintain the bridge, highway and public transit network to preserve and improve the economies of the state, region and nation, as well as the quality of life for all our citizens now and in the future.
With a coordinated effort, we can accomplish the goal of addressing our state's and our nation's transportation needs.