Today, the 2016 Report Card for New Jersey’s Infrastructure gave an overall D+ grade for the State’s infrastructure. The report evaluated 13 separate components of New Jersey’s infrastructure, all of which were given a grade based on the components’ condition, capacity, funding, future need, operation and maintenance, public safety, resilience, and innovation. The transit and levee components received the lowest grade of D-, while solid waste received the highest grade of B-. The other individual grades were: bridges (D+), dams (D), drinking water (C), energy (C+), hazardous waste (C), parks (D+), ports (C), rail (C), roads (D+), and wastewater (D).
Throughout the report, the New Jersey Section of the ASCE calls attention to numerous challenges confronting the state’s vast and diverse infrastructure, many of which are magnified by the dangerous insolvency facing New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund (TTF). Key issues concerning infrastructure in the Garden State include:
- Of the state’s 6,657 bridges, the report found that 1 in 11 are classified as structurally deficient and the average age of New Jersey bridges is 51 years. More than 40% of the state’s bridges are expected to require repair or replacement in the near future.
- No single agency exists to oversee New Jersey’s 126 miles of levees, despite numerous reports citing significant condition issues with levees across the state.
- 42% of New Jersey’s roadway system is deficient, with many highways now past their anticipated lifespan. Deficient roads are costing the average driver $1,951 each year.
- 213 high and significant hazard dams in New Jersey are in poor or unsatisfactory condition, and hundreds of millions of dollars will be necessary to repair them.
- If the approaching insolvency of New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund is not addressed, there will be no permanent revenue source for the billions of dollars of critical investment that is needed in the state’s bridges, transit systems, railways, and roads.
Mindful of the future, however, the New Jersey Section of the ASCE included in the Report Card three major steps to begin improving the overall condition of the state’s infrastructure:
- Establish a long-term funding source for the Transportation Trust Fund. This will generate the funds needed for highway, rail and transit projects.
- As evidenced by the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the state needs to continue to invest in resilient infrastructure that can better withstand severe weather events and limit the need for frequent, costly maintenance in the future.
- In order to address infrastructure assets facing delayed maintenance or replacement, the state must implement new technology and updated strategies to prioritize infrastructure investment.
The 2016 Report Card for New Jersey’s Infrastructure was created as a snapshot of the present state of New Jersey’s infrastructure, as well as a guide for improving infrastructure in the future. Read more about the report, challenges facing New Jersey’s infrastructure, and ways to meet those challenges at www.infrastructurereportcard.org/NJ.