by Darlene Regina

In these uncertain and extraordinary times, it’s hard to think beyond the next week. There’s so much that needs to be done on the daily to keep our families and friends safe that there’s precious little remaining headspace at the end of the day. But after we’ve flattened the curve and started putting our lives back together, we will need to put our country back together again too.

This road to recovery must begin with infrastructure. Infrastructure is the foundation for our modern lives, from the water that we drink to the energy that heats, cools, and lights our homes, and the roads, tunnels, rails, and bridges that connect us to each other and business great and small. And infrastructure creates jobs. In an opinion column on Business Insider, Larry Willis, president of the Transportation Trades Department at the AFL-CIO, laid out the argument clearly:

“Creating millions of middle-class jobs by rebuilding our country is a proactive step policymakers can take now to get ahead of any pending economic slide. Every $1 billion invested in transportation infrastructure creates more than 21,000 good jobs across multiple sectors of the economy, including construction, operations, maintenance, and design.”

Larry Willis, “There’s an easy way for Washington to fend off a recession and help thousands of Americans,” Business Insider

If there’s one thing that coronavirus has taught us, it’s that the logistics of getting goods efficiently delivered to stores and homes is critical. New Jersey, at the heart of the Northeast Corridor that runs from Boston to Washington DC, has played a key role here, and can play a key role in our recovery as well.

“New Jersey is…a prime location to attract domestic and international firms to make New Jersey their home. And what does that bring? New jobs and new opportunity, whether in the revitalization of an abandoned office space with new corporate headquarters. Or a state of the art warehouse facilities and distribution facilities with convenient access to the New Jersey Turnpike. The transportation must continue to be strengthened, whether in good times or in tough times.”

Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, NJ DOT Commissioner

From these challenging times we must build the future that we want for ourselves, our children, and future generations. We can build that future, create jobs, and stimulate the economy all at once by investing in infrastructure.

Darlene Regina is Chief Operating Officer of the Associated Construction Contractors of New Jersey (ACCNJ)