ARTBA: Investment in New Jersey's Water Infrastructure Would Yield Major Benefits for Garden State

Mon July 27, 2020 - National Edition

Investing in New Jersey's drinking water, wastewater and storm-water infrastructure provides an immediate economic boost while creating long-lasting benefits for businesses and residents, American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Chief Economist Alison Black said in testimony before the New Jersey Assembly Special Committee on Infrastructure and Natural Resources.

"New Jersey residents and businesses rely on infrastructure to supply clean drinking water, treat wastewater and provide reliable power generation," Black testified. "Increased investment will not only help prevent future disruptions and potential public health hazards, but also have enormous positive impacts on the state's economic productivity and job creation."

Black's testimony is sourced to a comprehensive 2019 analysis by ARTBA conducted for the Utility and Transportation Contractors Association of New Jersey (UTCA). It estimated that an additional $1 billion annual investment dedicated to improving New Jersey's drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems would generate $3 billion in economic benefits and support nearly 14,000 jobs.

Zoe Baldwin, director of government affairs of ARTBA chapter Utility & Transportation Contractors Association of NJ (UTCA), also testified during the hearing, highlighting the boost water investment could provide to New Jersey's economic recovery.

"Water work is a win-win-win for jobs, public health, and the environment, and now more than ever, we need those kinds of odds," Baldwin stated. "State and federal resources are stretched far too thin in an effort cover the mounting needs of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we need to be sure that our public investments are doing double, if not triple-duty.

"Investment in water infrastructure certainly fits the bill," Baldwin said.

Among the other key findings in the report that were highlighted by Black:

  • Sales and output by businesses in all sectors will increase by $2.1 billion for every $1 billion invested;
  • 13,787 jobs would be supported or created throughout the state economy every year;
  • Those workers will earn a cumulative $739.5 million per annum and will generate $143 million in additional state and local tax revenues, including $62.8 million in state and federal payroll taxes, $61.1 million in state income tax and corporate business tax revenues, and $19.3 million in state and local sales and use tax revenues; and
  • These investments will contribute $1.2 billion to the state's GDP annually.

Since 2000, Black and her team have authored nearly 100 studies examining state and national transportation funding and investment patterns.

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