New Jersey Business and Labor Come Together to Support Infrastructure Investment
(TRENTON, NJ) – Business and labor groups throughout the state have joined together to support continued investment into New Jersey’s critical infrastructure during the COVID-19 pandemic. Industry leaders are urging Governor Murphy and his administration to stay the course and continue to move forward with these essential projects.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Murphy administration has worked with the business community and labor to carefully and selectively identify those key infrastructure investments where construction can safely be continued. While these operations will help to ensure that such infrastructure is available or improvements are in progress post-pandemic, these also represent the types of investments that can place the state’s economy in a better position, given the devastation caused by COVID-19.
However, labor and the business community are calling for the state to take an even longer-term view by moving the process now for future projects. Specifically, this includes the proposed capital plans for both the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA) and South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA).
“As we persevere through the COVID-19 pandemic, we strongly urge the Governor and his administration to stand fast in their plan to support upgrading New Jersey’s critical infrastructure,” stated Greg Lalevee, Business Manager of IUOE825 and Chairman of ELEC825. “While infrastructure investment always has been inextricably linked to job expansion and economic growth, that investment now is more critical than at any point in our lifetime.”
“Moving forward with the $24 billion capital plan proposed by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority is exactly that type of forward-thinking and the kind of investment that can help the state economically after this pandemic,” said Tom Bracken, President and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. “This will provide funding for vital improvements and long overdue expansion for both the Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway. Yet it also will be one of the sparks to reignite our economy.”
“Investment in our infrastructure now will be critical to New Jersey’s economic bounce back after the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Anthony Russo, President of the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey. “Upgrades to our roads and bridges will be vital to the flow of products and people throughout our state, in turn helping our businesses get back on their feet.”
The NJTA and SJTA proposed capital plans, funded through toll adjustments, will include $24 billion in construction on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway, as well as critical upgrades along the entire Atlantic City Expressway. Funds will also go toward the SJTA’s participation in extending the South Jersey Light Rail from Camden to Glassboro – which will provide more mass transit options to tens of thousands of South Jersey residents. Each of these upgrades is working toward the goal of increased safety, congestion relief, and improved commuter access.
“The proposed capital improvements are fiscally prudent, will help to alleviate traffic congestion, promote economic growth, create jobs, and most importantly improve safety,” said Kevin Monaco, Executive Director of the New Jersey Asphalt Pavement Association. “NJAPA members employ more than 5,000 people in good-paying jobs with good benefits. Moving forward with these plans will ensure most, if not all, of those hard-working men and women, have a job to return to after the health crisis.”
“The Associated Construction Contractors of New Jersey takes pride in the fact that our members can efficiently and more importantly, safely, conduct work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated Jack Kocsis, Jr., CEO of the Associated Construction Contractors of New Jersey. “Allowing our workers to continue to operate will not only put New Jersey’s critical infrastructure in a better place but will put New Jersey’s economy in a better place once this health crisis subsides.”
“The NJTA and SJTA proposals will bring much-needed revenue to the project pipeline, along with much-needed investment to our highways,” said Bob Briant, Jr., CEO of the Utility and Transportation Contractors Association of New Jersey. “Not only does our industry needs this investment, but New Jersey needs it for the safety of our commuters and the health of our economy.”
“Projects outlined in the proposed capital plans, such as upgrades to the Atlantic City Expressway and extension of the South Jersey Light Rail, are critical to South Jersey’s post-coronavirus future,” said Jane Asselta, Vice President of the Southern New Jersey Development Council. “Moving forward with these necessary upgrades will create needed jobs throughout the area and enhance the supply chain, in turn fueling the region’s economy.”
The organization’s in support of the proposed capital plans include:
Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative 825
International Union of Operating Engineers Local 825
Road to Repair
New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce
Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey
New Jersey Association of Counties
New Jersey Asphalt Pavement Association
Associated Construction Contractors of New Jersey
Utility and Transportation Contractors Association of New Jersey
New Jersey Concrete and Aggregate Association
Southern New Jersey Development Council