In what may be the most complete and comprehensive study to date, the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) at Rutgers University has released, “The Cost of Roadway Construction, Operations and Maintenance in New Jersey, Phase 1 Final Report”, an in-depth analysis of the cost of state’s infrastructure. This is Phase I of a detailed study:
The primary research objective for Phase I of this study was to estimate how much it costs on average to plan, construct, operate and maintain the roadways and bridges under NJDOT jurisdiction. Costs averaged around $1.5 billion annually. This equates to an average cost of $183,757 per lane mile, excluding debt service, to plan, construct, operate and maintain the roadways and bridges under NJDOT jurisdiction. When interest payments on bonds is added in, the total cost increases to an average of $212,927 per lane mile.
Here are some key figures from the report:
The VCT study analyzes costs under NJDOT’s jurisdiction, which includes 8,410 lane miles of roadway, 4,078 shoulder miles, and 853 ramp miles. The study also avoids the mistake made by other studies, excluding expenditures not related to the construction, operation, and maintenance of roadways, such as:
- Expenditures related to NJDOT’s Bureau of Aeronautics and Office of Maritime Resources
- Capital project and operating support to NJ Transit
- Transportation Trust Fund Debt Service
- Local aid assistance to counties and municipalities
- Activities related to rail freight planning
- Funds passed through to MPOs (Metropolitan Planning Organizations) and TMAs (Transportation Management Associations)
When these costs are properly accounted for, a true picture of the cost of NJ’s roads comes into sharp focus. What’s interesting to note is that when you add in shoulders and ramps, the per mile cost drops significantly. This is important to note since NJ has made a concerted effort to build rural roads with wide shoulders which obviously increases cost but also increases safety. NJ has significantly fewer narrow rural lanes than neighboring states.
This is just Phase I of the study. Phase II “will include a more detailed analysis of costs for specific NJDOT road and bridge projects; estimation of construction and maintenance costs-per-lane mile for roadways under New Jersey Turnpike Authority and South Jersey Transportation Authority jurisdiction; benchmarking New Jersey costs against those of nearby northeastern states; as well as a review of leading practices being used in other states to increase the cost-efficiency of roadway construction and maintenance projects.”
The full report contains a detailed methodology. The Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University is a national leader in transportation policy and is part of the world-renown Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.
Click here to read the full report: