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October 10, 2014

Draft Resolution on Transportation Infrastructure Funding Available

Dear Mayor:

As indicated in previous correspondence, the future of the State’s Transportation Trust Fund is in doubt. (See our letters of May 20 at http://www.njslom.org/letters/2014-0520-Transportation.html, and September 16 at http://www.njslom.org/letters/2014-0916-Transportation-Trust-Fund.html.)

State-provided assistance through NJ DOT’s Local Aid program is vital for local governments to fund necessary improvements and to relieve the property tax burden for residents. Annually, $190 million from the Transportation Trust Fund is allocated to municipalities and counties for local transportation improvements. Approximately 100 county highway and bridge projects are funded each year, as well as hundreds of municipal road improvements, such as resurfacing, rehabilitation or reconstruction and signalization.  Typically, more than 400 municipalities receive funding for these projects each year.  

The Local Aid program also provides state and federal funds for special local projects to improve safety, for safe pedestrian and bike routes, for town centers, transit villages and other non-traditional transportation enhancements.   The local aid funding provided by the NJDOT and FHWA results in significant savings for counties and municipalities, and provides an alternative to the use of property taxes alone to improve local transportation.  These projects, it must be noted, put people to work. This is always important to our State’s economic health; but never more so than now, as we continue to rise from the recession.

In the first year of the Transportation Trust Fund (FY 1985), Local Aid funding represented almost 22 % of total Transportation Capital funding. By FY 1997, Local Aid was down to 16%. By FY 2004, we were down to 12%. In FY 2013, Local Aid represented 15% of the total. Average Local Aid funding over the first 29 years 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 first, we need to focus on the initial 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 has joined the “Forward New Jersey” coalition. We are anxious to assist any and all efforts to revitalize the Transportation Trust Fund.

We hope that your municipality will consider supporting our efforts by passing a resolution to that effect. We have prepared a Draft and posted it on-line for your consideration.

The links are:
PDF  -  http://www.njslom.org/resolutions/DRAFT-RESOLUTION-TTF-REUTHORIZATION.pdf
WORD -  http://www.njslom.org/resolutions/DRAFT-RESOLUTION-TTF-REUTHORIZATION.docx

If you have any questions, please contact Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121 or jmoran@njslom.com

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

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