N.J. getting another $1.6B for road projects from Biden infrastructure law

Published: Oct. 12, 2022

New Jersey is getting another $1.6 billion in highway and bridge funding under President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure law, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

The money is part of $59.9 billion heading to states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, an increase of $15.4 billion, or 35%, over the $44.5 billion allocated in 2021, the year before Congress enacted the new law.

“We are sending historic levels of funding to every state to help modernize the roads and bridges Americans rely on every day,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said.

The funding is in addition to the amount the state will receive under regular transportation appropriations. Last year, the combination of allocations in the appropriations law and the infrastructure law brought $3.3 billion to New Jersey. The government currently is operating under a temporary spending bill that expires Dec. 16.

Separately, the Cape May County Bridge Commission on Wednesday received $2 million to develop plans to replace four bridges: Townsend Inlet, Corson’s Inlet, Grassy Sound, and Great Channel. New Jersey was one of 23 states to receive Federal Highway Administration planning grants.

New Jersey could use the extra money.

A higher percentage of New Jersey’s interstate highways were found to be in poor condition than 48 other states, according to a 2021 report by TRIP, a research and advocacy organization whose funders include insurance companies, equipment manufacturers, construction companies and labor unions. The state had 9% of its interstate pavement rated as poor, tied with Delaware and behind only Hawaii.

The group said that 57% of New Jersey’s major roads were in poor or mediocre condition. Driving on deteriorated roads cost New Jersey motorists $4.6 billion a year – $715 per driver – in the form of additional repairs, accelerated vehicle depreciation, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

The junction of I-95 and Route 4 in Fort Lee was rated as the most congested stretch of highway in America, according to the American Transportation Research Institute, a trucking industry research group.

And 482, or 7.1%‚ of New Jersey’s 6,798 bridges were rated as deficient in 2021, according to the Federal Highway Administration. That was 21st among the 50 states.

The allocation also includes $22.2 million to help fund a network of charging stations for electric vehicles after the state’s plan was approved by the Federal Highway Administration. New Jersey will receive $104.4 million through 2026. At a cost per station estimated at $173,000 by Atlas Public Policy, that would pay for around 600 charging stations.

The federal funds will cover 80% of the cost with states picking up the remaining 20%.

The announcement was made just weeks before the 2022 midterm elections, where Democrats who supported the bill over the opposition of most House and Senate Republicans are touting its benefits.

In New Jersey, Reps. Jeff Van Drew, R-2nd Dist., and Chris Smith, R-4th Dist., bucked their party and voted yes. That led to Donald Trump calling for a primary challenge to Smith, who easily won the nomination after the former president declined to get involved in the race.

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published this page in News and Politics 2022-10-13 03:25:31 -0700