In October 2016, Governor Christie signed into law a bipartisan agreement that included both broad-based tax cuts for all New Jerseyans, as well as a record high $2 billion annual state investment in the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF). This record investment into the TTF will repair and improve the quality of New Jersey’s roads, bridges and mass transit systems by fully funding the state’s transportation infrastructure with money dedicated solely to roads and mass transit.
A state gas tax increase of 23 cents will cost the average New Jersey resident between $184 and $276 per year, depending on methodology. With a $16 billion TTF plan in full gear over the next eight years and 100 percent of gas tax revenues constitutionally dedicated to improving roads, bridges and mass transportation, New Jersey drivers, according to AAA, also will see a potential annual reduction in vehicle repair costs of $600 — the average spent per year by New Jersey drivers due to bad road conditions, according to the state and U.S. departments of transportation.
In addition to the savings on repairs from improved roads enabled by finding the TTF, the average New Jersey family would see an annual NET savings of several hundred or thousands of dollars in taxes and repairs thanks to the first broad-based tax cuts in the state since 1996:
• Reduced Sales Tax: The decrease in sales tax began January 1 with a reduction to 6.875 percent and will be lowered to 6.625 percent in January 2018. This will result in $520 million in tax relief for New Jerseyans.
• Tax Savings for the Working Poor: When Governor Christie was elected in 2009, the Earned Income Tax Credit was 25 percent. In 2015, the Christie Administration acted to increase the credit to 30 percent of the federal credit. Now, as a result of bipartisan compromise in 2016, the EITC will rise to 35 percent of that level, providing even more financial assistance and encouragement to New Jerseyans working their way to better lives. In 2016, about 620,000 recipients received benefits averaging $1,241 and ranging as high as $2,194.
• Protecting Senior Citizens On Fixed Incomes: In 2017, New Jersey has started to reduce state income taxes for retirees. Over the next four years, the state income tax exclusion on pension and retirement income will increase to $100,000 for joint filers, $75,000 for individuals and $50,000 for married/filing separately. When this tax relief is fully implemented, 90 percent of senior citizens will receive a state income tax reduction, with eight out of every 10 senior citizens paying ZERO income tax on their retirement income.
• Eliminating Death Taxes: New Jersey was one of only two states that separately taxed inheritances and estates. This year, a 15-month phase out of the nation’s most oppressive estate tax was initiated, replacing New Jersey’s current $675,000 threshold with a $2 million exclusion and completely eliminating the estate tax on January 1, 2018.
• Honoring Veterans For Their Service: New Jersey is home to approximately 400,000 military veterans. This program allows those who have been honorably discharged from active service in the military or the National Guard to be eligible for an income tax exemption.
Addressing Critical Transportation Needs Across New Jersey
The Transportation Capital Program for FY 2017 describes the planned capital investments for the fiscal year started July 1, 2016. It represents the annual portion of the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s and NJ Transit’s 10-year Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).
Focusing on the department’s Core Mission—safety, infrastructure preservation, mass transit, mobility and congestion relief, and operations and maintenance—this Capital Program outlines projects and programs that rebuild the State’s bridges and roads, provide mass transit services, and reduce congestion by deploying Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technology.
This Capital Program reflects the need to prioritize spending in a difficult economic environment by carefully evaluating transportation needs and targeting limited resources toward safety, fix-it-first and state-of-good-repair initiatives.
The FY 2017 Transportation Capital Program totals $3.910 billion and is funded primarily by the State Transportation Trust Fund (TTF), federal, and third-party resources. This includes a total of $3.68 billion for both NJDOT and NJ Transit and $230 million for Port Authority projects.
State funds are programmed at $1.6 billion.
Local System Support
Local System Support totals $418 million. NJDOT is providing $368 million in federal and state-funded local system support, which includes the $165 million State Aid Program for municipalities and counties as well as the $25 million Local Bridge Initiatives Program. NJ Transit’s local support totals $50 million. Additionally, funds for programs such as Local Safety, High Risk Rural Roads, Safe Routes to School, and Culvert Inspection are programmed on the local system.
NJ Department of Transportation
NJDOT’s $2.232 billion Capital Program addresses New Jersey’s transportation needs:
• The NJDOT program provides $551 million for state and local bridges. Bridge investments range from funding for high-cost bridges to implementation of a variety of rehabilitation programs and local bridge rehabilitations.
• The NJDOT program provides $417 million dedicated to road assets, including pavement rehabilitation, reconstruction and resurfacing.
• The NJDOT program provides $102 million for safety improvements. Key programs funded include the Crash Reduction Program, Intersection Improvement Program, Pedestrian Safety Initiatives, Rail-Highway Grade Crossings, and Safe Routes to School Program.
• The NJDOT program provides $244 million in funds to address highway congestion through infrastructure improvements as well as efforts to better manage traffic and respond to incidents.
• The NJDOT program provides $127 million for multimodal investments that support maritime, freight, and rail initiatives as well as bicycle and pedestrian improvements.
Investing In Critical Infrastructure Improvements Across New Jersey
Direct Connection I-295/I-76/Route 42 Interchange: The $900 million project to provide a seamless route for I-295 motorists traveling through the interchange of I-295, I-76, and Route 42 is the second largest project NJDOT has ever undertaken, and the largest in South Jersey.
• Being a major artery for Philadelphia commuter traffic via the Walt Whitman Bridge, and a connection to the southern New Jersey shore, Route 42 and the Atlantic City Expressway, this interchange is the busiest in the region. Due to the high volumes of traffic, low main line design speed, complex configuration of the interchange and weaving movements, there is a high incidence of motor vehicle accidents.
• The project will improve safety and reduce traffic congestion at the intersection of I-295, I-76 and Route 42. It will address quality-of-life issues relating to motorists, residents and the environment. The Direct Connection project has been divided into four separate construction contracts. Construction began in 2013, with completion of the fourth and final contract expected in the fall of 2021.
Route 35 Reconstruction Following Superstorm Sandy: Route 35, which is the backbone of the Barnegat Peninsula, was severely damaged by Superstorm Sandy and has been completely rebuilt. The $341 million project reconstructed the entire roadway and installed a new drainage system that can handle a 25-year storm. NJDOT used an accelerated schedule for this project and accomplished a massive amount of work in just three years. Construction began during the summer of 2013 and was substantially complete in the summer of 2016.
• The new stone-and-asphalt roadway is two feet thick and provides a more stable road and smoother driving surface. A new storm-water drainage system for Route 35 has been designed to handle 25-year storms and features nine pump stations and treatment facilities to filter and purify the storm water prior to discharge into Barnegat Bay.
Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridge: The $350 million Route 72 Manahawkin Bay Bridges Project involves the construction of a new structure parallel to and south of the existing Manahawkin Bay Bridge, rehabilitation of the existing Manahawkin Bay Bridge, and the rehabilitation of three trestle bridges over Hilliards Thorofare, East Thorofare, and West Thorofare. The 3-mile long causeway links Stafford on the mainland with Ship Bottom on Long Beach Island, but is structurally deficient and functionally obsolete after 57 years in existence. The last contract consists of intersection improvements at Route 72 and Marsha Drive, and reconstruction and widening of Route 72. It will also include operational and safety improvements in Ship Bottom Borough, on Long Beach Island. Approximately 3,000 feet of Route 72 (locally known as 8th and 9th Streets) and three cross roads (Barnegat Avenue, Central Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard) will be widened. Two-way traffic will be restored along Barnegat Avenue, Central Avenue and Long Beach Boulevard. A new traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of 8th Street and Long Beach Boulevard. Drainage improvements also are included within the project limits.
• Construction on the first of four contracts began in 2013 to build the new bridge parallel to the existing one over Manahawkin Bay, providing the safety of a redundant route on or off the island in the event that one of the bridges needs to be closed. The new bridge was completed in 2016, and the entire project is scheduled to be completed by 2020.
• This design is consistent with Christie Administration objectives to build in strength or redundancy to better withstand future storms. The existing causeway sustained relatively minor damage during Superstorm Sandy, but storm damage is a concern especially because it provides the only way for motor vehicles to enter or exit Long Beach Island.
Route 495, Route 1&9 / Paterson Plank Road Bridge: Due to several bridge elements exhibiting deterioration, major rehabilitation is required to repair and slow the rate of deterioration due to their structural deficiency. The $85 million contract consists of rehabilitation of the nine-span viaduct located in North Bergen Township, Hudson County. The scope includes replacement of the bridge deck, replacement and/or strengthening of the deteriorated structural steel, bridge painting and repair of the substructures. The structure is just outside the Lincoln Tunnel, and carries an average of 144,000 vehicles per day. The express bus lane, which is critical for maximizing transportation of commuters into New York, will be maintained as it carries 650 buses per hour /1,800 buses per morning.The project is expected to begin in early 2018 with a three-year duration. Most work for the first year will be underneath the structure and will have little or no impact on the motoring public.
Route 206 Bypass: A new roadway will be constructed east of the existing Route 206 from the Old Somerville Road to Amwell Road (CR 514) intersections and from the Hillsborough Road to Mountain View Road intersections in Hillsborough Township, Somerset County. The Bypass will include one travel lane in each direction south of the Hillsborough Road intersection. The Route 206 Bypass Contract A project has already constructed the bypass segment between the Amwell Road (CR 514) and Hillsborough Road intersections and is open to traffic. Construction is anticipated to begin in spring 2018 and will be completed and open to traffic by 2021. Total Construction Cost for this is improvement is $150 million.
Route 206 Doctor’s Way to Valley Road: This project will address and improve safety and congestion problems and optimize traffic flow on Route 206 in this area of Hillsborough. The project is broken into two segments: Doctor’s Way to Valley Road and Valley Road to Brown Avenue. Improvements include widening from two lanes to four lanes, the revision of three existing traffic signals, and the replacement of the bridge over Royce Brook. This first contract of the project is $90 million and anticipated to begin in summer 2019 with the completion of the entire project scheduled by late 2022.
Investing in our infrastructure and ensuring the health of our transportation assets helps support New Jersey’s continued economic growth, attracts additional business and creates more jobs in cities and towns across the Garden State. To advance the Christie Administration’s commitment to investing in New Jersey’s vital transportation network and promoting long-term economic growth for New Jersey, millions of dollars in grants have been awarded across the state.
From FY2011 – FY2016 the Administration Awarded:
$1.24 Billion in Local Aid
$472.50 million in Municipal Aid grants
$480.50 million in County Aid grants
$55.0 million in Local Aid Infrastructure Fund (LAIF) grants
$13.6 million in Highway Safety grants
$7.9 million in Bikeway grants
$7.2 million in Transit Village grants
$5.5 million in Safe Streets to Transit grants
$150 million in Local Bridges, Future Needs grants
$39.6 million in Rail Freight Assistance grants
$28.6 million in State Airport Improvement Funding (which leveraged another $60 million in federal and sponsor contributions for a total investment of $88.6 million in New Jersey’s airports)
• In February 2011, the Christie Administration awarded 370 cities and towns Municipal Aid grants totaling $78.75 million, enabling each municipality to advance street improvement, rehabilitation and safety projects without burdening local property taxpayers. The highly competitive program is part of New Jersey’s $200 million Local Aid program administered by NJDOT. An additional 33 grants worth a total of $7.6 million were extended to municipal and county recipients through four Local Aid programs: Transit Village, Centers of Place, Bikeways and Safe Streets to Transit.
• In June 2011, each of New Jersey’s 21 counties received $1 million to advance one or more bridge projects. Including the FY 2011 round of grants, 84 county bridges have been or will be improved through this program since it began in 2009.
• In August 2011, 95 grants totaling $14.65 million were awarded to municipalities, counties and general aviation airports for infrastructure improvement and safety projects. The grants were awarded through three programs, including 29 grants totaling $10 million through the Local Aid Infrastructure Fund (LAIF) program, 11 grants totaling $2.65 million through the Airport Improvement Program and 55 grants totaling $2 million through the Safe Corridor program. The LAIF and Safe Corridor grants benefit 78 different municipalities statewide. In addition, a total of 10 airports received airport safety grants.
• Following Hurricane Irene, demonstrating the Administration’s commitment to storm recovery, Governor Christie announced the availability of $7.5 million in Local Aid Infrastructure funding to help cover up to $30 million in repairs to local roads and bridges damaged by Hurricane Irene. The $7.5 million was used to cover county and municipal matches of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants that require a 25 percent local contribution.
• In March 2012, 387 Local Aid grants totaling $78.4 million were awarded, enabling 376 cities and towns across the state to advance street improvement, rehabilitation and safety projects without burdening local property taxpayers. The bulk of these Local Aid grants were awarded under the Municipal Aid program, with 374 grants totaling $76,126,200. Another 10 LAIF grants worth $1,810,000 and three Safe Streets to Transit (SSTT) grants worth $500,000 also were announced.
• Also in March 2012, nine grants were announced that provided almost $2.2 million in state funding for projects that enhance safety, promote state-of-good repair or advance studies for potential improvements at eight of New Jersey’s general aviation airports.
• The award of $3 million in grants to 59 municipalities to promote safety along designated Safe Corridor highway segments and to advance local projects that promote safety for bicyclists was announced in August 2012.
• The Christie Administration announced the award of 25 grants totaling $11.4 million that enabled 14 municipalities, eight freight railroads and three airports to advance infrastructure improvement projects. Among the grants are 13 Local Aid Infrastructure Fund grants totaling $2.75 million, eight Rail Freight Assistance Program grants for $6.6 million and four State Airport Improvement Program grants totaling $2 million in September 2012.
• In January 2013, the Christie Administration announced the award of 35 Local Aid grants totaling $6.8 million, including 10 state-funded LAIF grants totaling $1.1 million and 25 federally-funded Safe Routes to School grants totaling $5.7 million.
• In September 2013, the Christie Administration announced the award of 32 Local Aid grants totaling more than $23 million. The grants include $1 million to each of New Jersey’s 21 counties through the Local Bridges, Future Needs program and $2.3 million in LAIF grants to 11 municipalities. Both programs are state funded.
• Also in September 2013, the Christie Administration announced the award of 12 Rail Freight Assistance Program grants totaling nearly $13 million.
• In November 2013, the Christie Administration announced the award of 7 LAIF grants totaling $1.9 million.
• Also in November 2013, the Christie Administration announced the award of 3 Airport Improvement grants totaling $80,000 in state funds that leverage federal funding to support a total of $1.6 million in work.
• In May 2014, 391 Local Aid grants totaling $81.6 million, to advance street improvement, rehabilitation and safety projects without burdening local property taxpayers were awarded to municipalities. The bulk of the Local Aid grants were awarded under the Municipal Aid program, with 377 grants totaling $78.6 million. Another 14 grants totaling $3 million were announced under Transit Village, Local Bikeway, and Safe Streets to Transit programs. Each program received $1 million.
• In July 2014, the Christie Administration announced the award of 9 LAIF grants totaling $2.4 million to advance safety, drainage, and pavement reconstruction projects in six counties.
• In October 2014, the Christie Administration announced the award of 6 airport safety and improvement grants totaling $4.4 million in state funds that leverage federal funding and airport contributions to support a total of $5.7 million in work.
• In March 2015, the Christie Administration announced the award of 9 Rail Freight Assistance Program grants totaling nearly $20 million.
• In May 2015, 389 Local Aid grants totaling $81.75 million, to advance street improvement, rehabilitation and safety projects without burdening local property taxpayers were awarded to municipalities. The bulk of the Local Aid grants were awarded under the Municipal Aid program, with 376 grants totaling $78.75 million. Another 13 grants totaling $3 million were announced under Transit Village, Local Bikeway, and Safe Streets to Transit programs. Each program received $1 million.
• In January 2016, NJDOT announced the award of four Local Aid Infrastructure Fund (LAIF) grants totaling $690,900 to advance safety, drainage, and pavement reconstruction projects in four counties.
• In March 2016, 366 Local Aid grants totaling $81.75 million were awarded to municipalities to advance street improvement, rehabilitation and safety projects without burdening local property taxpayers. The bulk of the Local Aid grants were awarded under the Municipal Aid program, with 356 grants totaling $78.75 million. Another 10 grants totaling $3 million were announced under Transit Village, Local Bikeway, and Safe Streets to Transit programs. Each program received $1 million.
• In May 2016, NJDOT announced the award of three LAIF grants totaling $830,000 to advance safety, drainage, and pavement reconstruction projects in four counties.
• In December 2016, NJDOT announced the award of six LAIF grants totaling $1.15 million to advance safety, drainage, and pavement reconstruction projects in three counties.