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Mixed report on N.J.’s transportation dollars

//May 16, 2011//

Mixed report on N.J.’s transportation dollars

//May 16, 2011//

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New Jersey spent an estimated $5.1 billion on transportation in fiscal year 2010, but met mixed results when it came to identifying goals and taking other steps to choose cost-effective transportation funding and policy options, according to the Pew Center on the States, an organization that considers solutions to issues facing states.

“New Jersey fares well in measuring transportation’s progress toward several key policy goals,” like tracking road congestion incident clearance, according to the study. But the state “does not compare its progress to other benchmarks, such as past performance, that would assist decision-makers.”

But New Jersey has an asset management system that “tracks and manages the condition of every road and bridge,” said state Department of Transportation spokesman Joe Dee. “We are investing heavily in roads and bridges to ensure that they’re safe.”
“The problem is that benchmarking is not an activity ingrained in public agencies to begin with,” said Martin E. Robins, chair of the state Financial Policy Review Board and director emeritus of the Voorhees Transportation Center, at Rutgers University. And “in times of financial restraint, it’s hard to justify spending money on benchmarking.” 

– Martin C. Daks