The recent NJ Transit & Amtrak train derailments are just a sign of what’s to come if we continue to ignore our transportation infrastructure. Greg Lalevee, Chairman of ELEC discusses the importance of investing in New Jersey’s infrastructure.
Almost five full years after Hurricane Sandy, we’re still working to get our infrastructure systems—that were flooded and over-burdened during one of the worst storms in recent memory—back up and running. Last week, the federal government announced it will spend almost $240 million to help repair damage to the Holland Tunnel caused by the storm.
The funding will allow the Port Authority to move forward with repairs caused by flooding and saltwater damage to the tunnel, which sees around 300,000 trips daily.
Hurricane Sandy revealed a myriad of weaknesses in our infrastructure systems we could have never anticipated. From widespread power outages to cell phone tower failures, and flooding that shut down major roadways and public transit systems, Hurricane Sandy exploited all of the weaknesses in our major infrastructure systems.
While we have made repairs and upgrades over the past several years, there is still much more yet to do. Our successful efforts to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund last year are a step in the right direction. However, if we don’t do more to take a long-view and create funding sources that invest in infrastructure systems for generations to come rather than a few years ahead, it’s only a matter of time before the next severe storm cripples the region once again and undercuts our economic growth for years to come.
Thanks to the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF), which the Road to Repair campaign and the Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative (ELEC) played a leading role in passing, drivers on Route 4 in the Teaneck area will finally see some relief from dodging potholes over the winter months. Carlstadt announced $4 million of TTF funding will be put towards a road-and-drainage rehabilitation project that will improve area roadways. Carlstadt’s public works director called it “the biggest project of its kind in borough history.”
Besides benefitting area drivers—who have complained about teeth-chattering road conditions over the past few months—the money will put road crews to work making the repairs over the next few months patching roads and repairing entrance and exit ramps. The funding comes as a result of lawmakers’ and ELEC’s support of a measure to reinfuse the TTF with $16 billion in state funds over the next eight years. This important funding would not have been approved without the leadership of Senator Paul Sarlo and Senator Steve Oroho. The money boosts annual spending on the state’s road, bridge, and rail infrastructure by $400 million.