Infrastructure in the News: New Jersey screeches to a halt, Georgia and Louisiana surge ahead

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With July’s heat, construction projects should be in full swing and you’re probably considering a vacation. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an extra $3,400 in your bank account to plan a trip with? Well, as ASCE’s new Failure to Act economic study video shows, if we improved our infrastructure every American family could save $9 a day. Watch the video that details the high costs of underinvesting in our nation’s infrastructure and the solution to close the gap.

New Jersey’s postponed decision to address the looming insolvency of its state transportation trust fund has resulted in a halt of dozens of transportation projects.  Gov. Christie’s office released the seven-page list of projects that are on hold until a bill is passed.  An opinion piece in the Washington Post echoes the frustration that New Jersey residents are experiencing and tells the state “Yo… you don’t have to cut a tax to raise a tax,” a debate at the center of passing a bill. The situation in New Jersey parallels that of the federal government which has also not increased its gas tax in 23 years.

Mississippi is another state in a funding bind, as a recently proposed solution for much-needed highway improvements fizzled away, in spite of compelling arguments for investment. According to a study by the National Center for Pavement Preservation, maintenance costs can multiply to anywhere from six to 14 times what it would have cost if preservation work had been done within 15 years of a road’s construction. Once again, this illustrates we can invest now, or we can pay more later.

In contrast to New Jersey and Mississippi, many states including  Georgia and Louisiana are moving ahead with transportation projects due to intentionally raised state funds and contribution from the FASTLANE grants, which are part of the federal FAST Act. While these grants bring promising infrastructure maintenance and show what investment can do, they are also a reminder that our federal Highway Trust Fund is still without a fix that offers long-term, sustainable funding.

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