Investing in transportation infrastructure could generate more than 26,800 additional jobs each year and increase annual tax revenues by $1.54 billion for New Jersey, according to a Rutgers University study released last week.
The Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Policy crafted the report, estimating that $26.6 billion of the state’s total $42.5 billion of proposed transportation infrastructure funding will boost construction employment, income levels, and tax receipts in the Garden State from fiscal 2009 through 2018.
The study indicates that New Jersey will gain an average of 26,832 job-years annually, with one job year equal to one full-time job lasting one year. Income levels would increase by $1.49 billion each year and state and local tax revenue would grow by $747.2 million and $797.2 million, respectively. The state’s gross domestic product is estimated to increase by $20.3 billion each year. All amounts are in current 2008 dollars.
State Transportation Commissioner Kris Kolluri said the report mirrors the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s and Gov. Jon Corzine’s philosophy that supporting transportation capital projects throughout the state provides “a significant economic stimulus” while keeping the state’s roadways, bridges, and tunnels in a state of good repair.
“We have an opportunity and an obligation to make sure that we can do as much as we can to keep the unemployment numbers as low as possible,” Kolluri said. “Investing in infrastructure is an insurance policy against a rise in unemployment rates.”
The Bloustein study takes into account New Jersey’s largest transportation project, a new $7.5 billion passenger railway tunnel called the Access to the Region’s Core, which will run from Newark to Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan.
Construction on the tunnel will begin next year. The project is the state’s biggest single-project investment, accounting for nearly roughly $6.6 billion, or roughly 17.4% of New Jersey’s 10-year transportation infrastructure capital plan.
Overall transit projects total $8.4 billion of expenditures, while highway investments, including resurfacing and roadway widening projects, account for $8.9 billion of the capital budget, and bridge repair work takes up $7.1 billion.