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Just how bad is N.J.'s infrastructure? This bad

Friday, June 17, 2016   (0 Comments)
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NJ.com 06/17/16

If New Jersey's infrastructure was a student, its grades would likely get it grounded. That's according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, which gave the state's infrastructure a barely-passing D-plus in its 2016 report card released Thursday. "It is grim, there is no way around it," said Luis Barragan, chairman of the association's report card committee. "The last time we did this report was 2007 and it was a C-minus. There is much work to be done."

The 2016 report examined 13 areas of infrastructure that the public relies on, he said. The decision was made to do the report this year because the state's Transportation Trust Fund will run out of money for new projects in two weeks, Barragan said. Only one state infrastructure system received a good grade — solid waste disposal, which received a B-minus. "As engineers, we've been concerned for years. We felt it was time to do it again to tell the public that the infrastructure is suffering," Barragan said. "It the lack of funding."

The report used 2015 data and was researched by professors at Rutgers University and Stevens Institute of Technology, in addition to engineering experts. It was reviewed by the national engineering society. The report said that finding a long-term fix to fund the the trust fund was the top solution to improving the infrastructure grade, followed by careful prioritization of projects. Most the report's conclusions say that the state's infrastructure is old, at the end of its useful life in some cases, and that the state lacked long-range planning or financing to replace it.

The report did list positive factors, such as the New Jersey Turnpike Authority's $7 billion capital plan, which replaced 53 bridges and rebuilt 30 spans through a project to widen 33-miles of the Garden State Parkway. A similar widening of the Turnpike between Exits 6 and 9 replaced 88 bridges and rebuilt seven others.

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