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The Commissioner's Report


Demands on New Jersey roads,
bridges outstrip available resources

In 1984 New Jersey lawmakers put an end to years of neglect and chronic underfunding in the state's highways, railroads and bus systems by creating the Transportation Trust Fund. Twenty years later, the Transportation Trust Fund has pumped over $13.3 billion into New Jersey's transportation infrastructure, facilitating the state's sustained economic growth, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs in construction, manufacturing and engineering and helping to protect our quality of life.

To maintain that progress, however, will pose new challenges. Home to 8.5 million residents, 3.7 million workers and nearly 6 million licensed drivers, New Jersey's population is expected to grow by 1.4 million (16 percent) and add nearly a million more jobs by 2020. To support that growth without diminishing our quality of life, New Jersey will need $4.8 billion a year to repair and expand our highways, bridges and public transit systems.

Roads and bridges designed during the 1920s and 1930s must be modernized to accommodate today's traffic and higher speeds. A billion dollars a year for the next 10 years will be required to rehabilitate our network of Interstate Highways and state roads. Should funding continue at current levels while traffic volume grows even heavier, the portion of our state highway system rated in "acceptable" condition will decline from 60 percent today to 27 percent within 10 years.

Another $7 billion will be needed over a decade to repair or replace all of our substandard bridges. Replacing the Route 7 Wittpenn Bridge carries a $322 million pricetag, while the Route 3 Passaic River bridge and the Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridge are expected to cost $200 million each to replace.

The needs extend beyond simple highway and bridge repairs, but also include:
  • $550 million for congestion relief initiatives, such as redesigning bottlenecks, eliminating traffic circles, building new park and rides and supporting Transit Villages
  • $80 million a year for critical highway safety improvements
  • $34 million for aviation safety and preserving the state's dwindling network of general aviation airports
  • $22 million in maritime funding to dredge navigable channels, facilitate the rebirth of ferry service and develop a new containerized cargo distribution system
  • $40 million for bicycle and pedestrian safety and improvements

And the state's Local Aid program, which has generated $2.1 billion for county and municipal projects over the past 20 years, must be infused with new capital to enable local governments to undertake important street, road and bridge repairs without relying on property taxes.

The cost of all this work must continue to be shared equally between the state and federal governments. And the NJDOT must continue investing its capital resources wisely and efficiently, such as through its new pavement maintenance program. But current and future demands on our state and local roads and bridges far outstrip the resources available.
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  Department of Transportation
  P.O. Box 600
  Trenton, NJ 08625-0600
OPRA - open public records act

  Last Updated:  January 19, 2005