At TransAction 2008, Advocates Talk Funding, Land Use

April 2 – 4 marked New Jersey’s annual transportation extravaganza, TransAction 2008. Held in Atlantic City’s Taj Mahal Casino, the conference attracts the who’s who of transportation from Commissioners to departmental staff, local officials to advocates, and everyone in between.

A highlight of the conference for TSTC was the panel entitled NJFIT: What Happens [...]

NJ's Transportation Holding Pattern

If no news is good news, New Jersey is jumping for joy. After a year-long deluge of transportation, asset monetization, and toll road press and controversy, discussion of transportation funding and priorities has now taken a back seat in Trenton. Gov. Corzine’s “fiscal restructuring” plan to fund transportation with large toll increases has atrophied, [...]

Improving Corzine's Asset Monetization Plan

New Jersey press outlets have been fixated on Governor Corzine’s asset monetization plan, printing dozens of articles daily. But few have covered potential changes that could make the plan more palatable to many in the state. Republicans, who hold 32 of 80 seats in the State Assembly and 17 of 40 seats in the [...]

Press Release: Two Dozen Environmental Groups Call NJ Road Projects a Waste of Money, Call for Smarter Projects

New Jersey transportation and environmental organizations convened in Trenton today to voice opposition to plans to widen the Garden State Parkway, NJ Turnpike, and Atlantic City Expressway. The three projects in total are estimated to cost nearly $3 billion, even though they will provide no long-term congestion relief.

Earlier this week, [...]

“Grassroots” Backing for NJ Toll Plan Is Anything But

The political maneuvering over Gov. Corzine’s “fiscal restructuring” toll plan reached disquieting levels last week with the creation of “Save Our State,” a 501(c)(4) advocacy group funded by the governor and run by directors clearly connected to his administration. Corzine has proposed bonding against toll increases to fund transportation projects, including costly and ineffective [...]

Tracking NJ's Great Leap Backwards: The Corzine Road Show

Gov. Corzine has been touring the state in an effort to garner support for his unpopular plan to bond against increased tolls in order to reduce state debt and fund transportation projects. On Monday, the Tri-State Campaign took a trip down to Camden to check out the show. Tri-State, along with many environmental groups [...]

NJ Year in Review: A Loss of Focus

In 2007, New Jersey prioritized other policies over the smart-growth oriented NJFIT program.

New Jersey began 2007 far ahead of New York and Connecticut in terms of sustainable transportation planning. While New York and Connecticut progressed slowly toward more sustainable policies in 2007, New Jersey, unfortunately, headed backwards. Though NJDOT maintained a capital plan focused on sustainability and fix it first priorities, many of the agency’s projects linking land use and transportation stagnated as the state’s political establishment pushed highway widening projects.

2007 was dominated by talk of Gov. Jon Corzine’s “asset monetization” plan to use state assets to raise revenue. Initial thought was that the plan would involve leasing the state’s toll roads to a private corporation to raise money for any number of programs. It now appears the plan, which is being released in the Governor’s State of the State address this afternoon, will involve bonding against toll increases, with most of the money going toward reducing state debt. Speculation over the plan unfortunately eclipsed most other transportation discussions this year. DOT officials were compelled to advocate for the monetization plan, to the detriment of worthy smart growth projects whose economic and social impacts would benefit NJ communities.

NJ Turnpike Authority

The NJTA’s response to congestion on the Garden State Parkway and NJ Turnpike has been old-school all the way – widen first, ask questions never. In 2007 NJTA completed environmental impact statements and held public hearings for its plans to widen the Parkway by one lane in each direction between exits 30 and 80, and the Turnpike between Interchange 6 and Interchange 9 to six lanes in each direction (between interchanges 9 and 8A, the Turnpike is five lanes in each direction; between 8A and 6 it is three lanes). While both roads are certainly congested, the widening plans put forth by the Turnpike Authority will not solve the problem. According to NJTA documents, portions of the new lanes along the GS Parkway will fill with traffic before the new lanes are built (see MTR #552), while the Turnpike project documents show huge projected increases in traffic due solely to the widening project itself (MTR # 565).

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