New Jersey DOT: no more roadway expansions

By Dan Handel

Richard Hammer, New Jersey’s newly appointed Department of Transportation Commissioner, announced the agency will pursue a ‘fix-it-first’ mindset toward transportation spending. “The days of system expansion in New Jersey are long over, we don’t have the funds,” he said, speaking at an annual Alliance for Action transportation summit. “The focus is on the new status quo, paving, repairing deficient bridges, fixing potholes.”

This is a significant announcement for New Jersey, where a report found that as of 2013 76 percent of the state’s major roads were rated mediocre or poor condition and 36 percent of bridges were structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Poor road conditions are also costing individuals an average of $605 each year in vehicle repairs.

New Jersey now joins the Missouri DOT, which has put a moratorium on system expansions for at least the next five years. California’s Caltrans agency also recently posted a policy brief stating highway expansions don’t actually reduce congestion; however, this is not a commitment against expansions.

Dan Handel is a Graduate Assistant at SSTI.