New Jersey Department of Transportation’s fiscal 2012 capital budget could pose a threat to the state’s smart-growth programs and aging infrastructure,
as a result of increased spending on new road construction and eliminating funding for transit-friendly development, according to an analysis released last week by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a New York-based policy and advocacy organization.
Road and bridge maintenance continues to account for the largest percentage of the DOT’s capital budget, at 44 percent — but spending on road and bridge expansion projects now makes up 11 percent of the program, its highest percentage in nearly a decade, the report said.
“This analysis makes us concerned the NJDOT is taking on too many new road-widening projects that it cannot afford, and moving away from smart transportation policies,” said Kate Slevin, executive direction of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. The increased road and bridge expansion spending also potentially undermines New Jersey’s “fix it first” program, which prioritizes repairing the state’s existing infrastructure over new road construction.
The group also expressed concerns over the budget’s defunding of the state’s Transit Village and Centers of Place programs, as well as cuts to the NJ Future in Transportation program.
– Evelyn Lee