New Jersey roads, bridges get ‘D’ in engineer group’s report
As New Jersey lawmakers tangle over how to fund the depleted Transportation Trust Fund, an engineers' group has given the state a near-failing grade for its roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
The American Society of Civil Engineers' report released Thursday gave New Jersey's infrastructure a D-plus grade, slightly worse than the group's last report in 2007 that gave the state a C-minus.
The state's roads, bridges, dams and levees all received grades between D-minus and D-plus. The report estimated 42 percent of New Jersey's roadways are deficient, and roughly one in 11 bridges needs significant rehabilitation or replacement.
Transit systems, including New Jersey Transit, PATH, PATCO High-Speed Line and Amtrak are at or near capacity in peak hours in some areas and are in need of major rehabilitation and expansion, the report concluded in awarding a D-minus grade.
The report comes as lawmakers debate how to prop up the Transportation Trust Fund. The fund loses its borrowing authorization after June 30 and transportation officials have said it will run out of money by early August.
Lawmakers from both parties have proposed raising the wholesale fuel tax by 23 cents, an increase that would passed on to customers at the gas pump. They also have proposed other tax cuts. Other lawmakers are opposed to raising the gas tax.
This week, Republican Gov. Chris Christie questioned whether the fund actually is running out of money and reiterated that any gas tax hike would have to be accompanied by corresponding tax cuts.
Thursday's ASCE report gave New Jersey residents its best grade, B-minus, for the state's handling of solid waste and recycling.
While the report found residents create 12½ pounds of solid waste per day, almost three times as much as the national average, about 54 percent of it is diverted to recycling, well ahead of the national average of about 34.5 percent.
The report also found that waste disposal and recycling costs in New Jersey were among the highest in the nation.
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