Can we afford to fix our crumbling infrastructure?

From the Associated Press:

Engineers: NJ Infrastructure Crumbling

New Jersey’s infrastructure is barely making the grade, with major problems looming, civil engineers said Monday as they estimated the state will need to spend billions to repair decaying transportation and water systems.

The American Society of Civil Engineers gave the state’s infrastructure a grade of C-.

Andres Roda, president of the society’s New Jersey chapter, said the grade is meant to emphasize how the state’s aging infrastructure influences daily life.

“For too many years we have underinvested in our state’s infrastructure,” Roda said. “With each passing day the inability of our state’s aging infrastructure to meet the needs of our growing population further threatens our economy and qualify of life.”

The report didn’t declare any immediate dangers to residents, but found mounting unmet needs will require the state to devise long-term repair strategies and find money to pay for the work. It found:

The state needs to spend $1.7 billion per year for 10 years to fix aging and deteriorated bridges.

About half the state’s roadways are considered deficient.

The state needs to spend $15 billion to repair wastewater treatment facilities, with demand expected to exceed capacity by 2016.

The state has 310 aging dams that will cost $300 million to repair.

About $400 million more per year must be spent to meet open space and historic preservation needs.

About $60 million more must be spent annually to fix decaying public drinking water systems.

At state ports, $1.6 billion must be spent to deepen harbor channels and berths and another $1 billion to update and expand terminals.

“The state lacks the resources to fund the long-term capital improvements that are essential to economic growth,” Gilfillan said. “The governor looks forward to a debate on a funding source, because he believes the status quo simply will not work any longer.”

From the Asbury Park Press:

Conditioning the public

The grade of “D” civil engineers gave to the state’s roads, bridges and airports in a report Monday is sure to be exploited by the Corzine administration to help sell his monetization plan and the need for a major hike in the state gasoline tax. Don’t buy it.

The assessment by the New Jersey section of the American Society of Civil Engineers is eye-opening: an overall grade of C-minus for all nine types of infrastructure. The highest, C-plus, was awarded to energy and the lowest, the Ds, went to bridges, highways, airports and sewers. About 82 percent of the state’s roads are either “mediocre” or “deficient” and it will take $60 million more per year to maintain our drinking water systems, the report said.

But the findings have to be put into perspective: The report card was presented at a conference hosted by New Jersey Alliance for Action, a coalition of builders and labor unions advocating a higher state gasoline tax — a whopping 30 cents per gallon more — to help pay for the needed projects. Of course, this work will be done by builders, labor union members and engineers, so the self-interest is obvious.

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6 Responses to Can we afford to fix our crumbling infrastructure?

  1. thatBIGwindow says:

    More money for stem cell research is priority!!

  2. RentinginNJ says:

    So…NJ will raise the gasoline tax… after all, this is about the safety of our citizens… we can’t have another Minnesota bridge collapse (when raising taxes, nothing works like good old fashion fear)…A few bridges will be fixed… A few potholes will be filled… A few dams will get a fresh coat of paint… But after a few token repairs, the money will get scooped into the general fund (the endless black hole of taxpayer money) where it will be squandered… NJ will be left with higher gasoline taxes AND decaying infrastructure.

  3. chicagofinance says:

    I actually think they are considering ripping down the Pulaski Skyway and replacing it.

  4. Joeycasz says:

    Why do we live here?

  5. syncmaster says:

    Joeycasz #4,

    Because the roads you’d need to get out are all crumbling. You’re trapped, homey.

  6. Greg says:

    No you are wrong. We need to raise the gas tax for the “childern”. We can’t allow our children to travel on dangerous roads?

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