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By: senator Bob gordon

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ew Jersey’s economic growth, housing values, and quality of life depend on our ability to develop and maintain a 21st Century transportation infrastructure over the next decade to make up for years of neglect and underfunding. That’s why I was such a staunch proponent of legislation to establish a $2 billion a year Transportation Trust Fund to rebuild our crumbling roads, bridges and mass transit infrastructure, and why I have led the fight to expand our trans-Hudson rail, bus and ferry capacity. The Utility and Transportation Contractors Association was one of our most important and consistent partners in our successful bipartisan push for final passage of the Transportation Trust Fund legislation last October, ending a four-month stalemate that had idled contractors and construction workers across the state. With passage of the TTF bill, we were able not only to allocate $1.6 billion in state funding for previously approved work, but also to put an additional $400 million out the door last spring for shovel-ready projects, including a lot of long-overdue road repaving and bridge repairs. The failure to maintain a “state of good repair” was one of the main reasons that New Jersey motorists were incurring a highest-in-the-nation $600-a-year in unnecessary repair costs due to poor road maintenance. The $2 billion a year in state funding for transportation infrastructure is matched by more than $1.5 billion a year in federal funding and augmented by another $700 million in New Jersey Turnpike Authority and South Jersey Transportation Authority funds. Investing in our transportation infrastructure not only puts people and businesses to work repairing roads, bridges and our rail lines, but also is one of the best ways to promote economic

NEWS

investment in transportation infrastructure critical to nj future growth and create jobs. Expanding the New Jersey Turnpike to 12 lanes through central New Jersey is the most important single reason that Amazon and other companies are building and expanding their distribution centers and warehouses throughout Middlesex, Union, Mercer, and Burlington counties. Raising the Bayonne Bridge to enable the new Panamax super-freighters to navigate the Arthur Kill into Port Newark will further grow our logistics sector, as will investments to upgrade Newark Airport, which is one of FedEx’s busiest hubs. We need to make sure we are spending that money in a cost-effective way. That’s why I worked with the UTCA to introduce Senate Bill 3409 setting up a predictable process for contractors and government entities to immediately and predictably address changed conditions that affect the costs of highway, bridge and other construction contracts after the work is underway. New Jersey can’t do it alone, even with an expanded Transportation Trust Fund and a robust Turnpike Authority capital program. That’s why I have taken a leadership role through my chairmanship of the Senate Legislative Oversight Committee to ensure that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey makes the expansion of trans-Hudson commuter capacity its top priority in the decades ahead, and that New Jersey Transit has the resources and leadership it needs to once again become one of the leading mass transit agencies in the nation. The construction of the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, the George Washington, Bayonne and Goethals bridges and the Ou-

Utility & Transportation Contractor | october | 2017 15

Utility & Transportation Contractor October 2017  
Utility & Transportation Contractor October 2017