September 16, 2014
Re: Transportation Trust Fund
The “Forward New Jersey,” a coalition with the purposes of education stakeholders and the public about the state of New Jersey’s aging infrastructure held a press conference today at the Statehouse.
Just last year, the American Society of Civil Engineers reported that 651 of the 6,554 bridges in New Jersey (9.9%) are considered structurally deficient and 1,717 (26.2%) are considered functionally obsolete. That report also estimated that driving on roads in need of repair costs New Jersey motorists $3.476 billion a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs – $601 per motorist, and that 66% of New Jersey’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition.
The State Department of Transportation (DOT) reports that New Jersey's municipalities are responsible for 64 percent (28,539 center line road miles) of our roads. County governments are responsible for another 22 percent (6,649 center line road miles). Together, local governments are responsible for 39 percent of our bridges. Local roadways and bridges carry about 55 percent of all traffic.
Local officials know that investments in these assets must be made. Failure to do so can compromise the safety of the public, the economic vitality of our communities and the security of our neighborhoods.
Consequently, the League had been involved in transportation funding debates for several decades and we supported the creation of the Trust Fund and the Trust Fund Authority in 1984. Since then we have remained involved in the periodic renewals of the Fund as well funding through the annual appropriations process.
As we see it, New Jersey faces three challenges, with regards to transportation capital funding. We must:
1. Reauthorize the Transportation Trust Fund to ensure adequate and reliable funding to meet State and local transportation infrastructure funding needs for the next 10 years.
2 Increase Local Aid funding to ensure adequate and reliable funding to meet all local transportation infrastructure needs.
3. Increase the municipal share of Local Aid funding and ensure fair funding for all municipalities.
In the first year of the Transportation Trust Fund (FY 1985), Local Aid funding represented almost 22 % of total Transportation Capital funding. Over the years, the Local Aid portion was reduced to 16% in FY 1997, 12% in FY 2004, it and 15% in FY 2013. The average Local Aid funding over the first 29 years of the Transportation Trust Fund was just under 15%.
The need for investments in local roads and bridges has not decreased since 1985. No one has suggested that it will decrease in the future. So given the extent of the local infrastructure, and given the need for strong and steady investment in that infrastructure, we will call for assurances that Local Aid will represent, at a minimum, 25% of annual Transportation Capital spending. And we will call for adjustments in funding, to account for the effects of inflation.
But today, we want to focus on the first challenge. The Transportation Trust Fund needs to be replenished, so that it can provide adequate and reliable capital to meet State and local needs, now and in the future. For that reason, the League of Municipalities is ready, willing and able to join the “Forward New Jersey” coalition. We are anxious to assist any and all efforts to revitalize the Transportation Trust Fund.
Contact: Jon Moran, firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-695-3481 x121
Very truly yours,
|Hon. Suzanne M. Walters,
President, NJLM and
Mayor, Stone Harbor Borough
|William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director, NJLM