Rutgers University Study Estimates Cost to Build, Maintain NJDOT Roads

The study is part of a two-phase effort to provide an understanding of aggregate costs associated with NJDOT roadways and bridges.

Wed June 01, 2016 - Northeast Edition
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The study is part of a two-phase effort to provide an understanding of aggregate costs associated with NJDOT roadways and bridges.
The study is part of a two-phase effort to provide an understanding of aggregate costs associated with NJDOT roadways and bridges.

New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) officials announced the release of a new study conducted by Rutgers University's Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center that determined the average cost to plan, construct, operate, and maintain 1 mi. (1.6 km) of roadway under NJDOT jurisdiction is $183,757.

The study is part of a two-phase effort to provide an understanding of aggregate costs associated with NJDOT roadways and bridges. Rutgers will conduct additional research to understand more completely the factors that influence cost efficiency.

“The New Jersey Department of Transportation is committed to providing a modern, safe and reliable transportation system throughout the state in the most effective manner possible,” Richard T. Hammer, NJDOT acting commissioner, said. “The study is part of an on-going effort to identify those factors that drive costs in New Jersey's public transportation sector.”

The Rutgers study found that on average nearly 60 percent of total transportation-related expenditures are for activities not directly associated with planning, construction, operating, and maintaining roads and bridges under NJDOT jurisdiction.

These costs are related to expenditures for NJ TRANSIT, debt services on transportation bonds, funding for local road projects, aviation, maritime and rail freight, and contribute to providing a comprehensive and safe transportation system throughout the state.

“The Rutgers study stands in stark contrast to a recent report that grossly over-reported New Jersey's highway costs at $2 million per mile,” Hammer said, noting that the Rutgers study concurred that it is inappropriate to include the entire debt service amount on transportation bonds when calculating lane mile costs, and that additional analysis is required to isolate the portion attributable to highway projects.

The study also determined that on average $1.5 billion is spent annually on highway expenses, and of this amount, approximately 60 percent is attributable to construction. Less than four percent is attributable to administration, planning and research. The remainder goes toward operations and maintenance.

“The facts of this study not only demonstrate the Department's responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars,” Hammer added. “But also will allow NJDOT to single out cost driver outliers, which will in turn provide the Department the ability to target future efficiency efforts.”

Phase II of this study will conduct an analysis of toll road authority expenditures and produce a detailed case study analysis of various NJDOT and toll authority roadway and bridge projects to understand cost efficiency variation more completely.


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