New Analyses Reject Reason Foundation’s Claims
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (December 9, 2015): Even as several reports and analysis by the University of Utah Professor of Economics Dr. Peter Philips, the Bergen Record and former New Jersey Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox debunk its claims, the libertarian Reason Foundation continues to defend its false report about transportation spending in New Jersey.
The Reason Foundation erroneously claims New Jersey spends far more than any other state on its highway system ever year. Yet numerous studies by transportation and economic experts, and the state itself tell a different story of New Jersey’s highly complex and critically important road network.
Leading national expert Dr. Philips, who penned a recent report entitled “The Unreasonable Reason Foundation’s Assessment of New Jersey’s Road Cost-Effectiveness,” has soundly rejected the Reason Foundation’s conclusions.
“Each mile of road in the U.S. is not created equal,” Dr. Philips’ analysis concludes. “When implementing actual scientific processes by controlling for population density and usage associated with a highway system that serves as a hub for connecting the global economy, New Jersey’s road system stacks up well with the rest of the country.”
According to Dr. Philips’ rigorous analysis, New Jersey ranks first nationally in value added per worker hour and sixth in road materials installed per worker-hour. New Jersey’s roads are the widest and most complex in the country, and as such require costlier, high-quality materials to remain in working order.
“New Jersey’s actual per mile road costs are about 4% below where we would expect given the size, complexity, density and usage of the state’s road system when the data is controlled equally between state comparisons,” added Dr. Philips in his report.
Other independent analyses, including from state Department of Transportation officials, have also disproven the Reason Foundation’s report and cast doubt on its methodology. The state itself acknowledges that New Jersey is the only state in the country that operates a statewide transit system, and the Reason Foundation’s report includes unrelated mass transit expenditures into highway construction costs.
“The most glaring issue is the Reason Foundation’s definition of highway miles, and road jurisdiction benefits some states more than others,” former Commissioner Fox wrote in the Star-Ledger in February. “Its methodology also fails to account for factors unique to New Jersey, such as our transit investments or high density.”
An analysis by the Bergen Record in March raised concerns that the Reason Foundation’s data was “wildly inflated” and neglected to account for road complexity and how the Transportation Trust Fund pays its debts. Still, the Reason Foundation stands by its false and misleading data.
“The Reason Foundation continues to defend their report that compares our roads and bridges – like Route 9, which has many lanes, 129 intersections, and countless direct overpasses carrying heavy traffic – with roads like Wyoming’s US-189, which has two lanes and a single overpass to help antelope migrate,” said Greg Lavelee, Chairman of the Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative 825. “Their comparisons are simply ridiculous. While we worry about the trucks, buses and cars that keep our economy moving, their traffic jams are caused by livestock.”