A majority of people living in New Jersey rate the condition of the state's roads as fair or poor, and the American Society of Civil Engineers found that 66 percent of the state's roads are in poor condition. As a Councilman in Garwood for the past three years, I find this unacceptable.
Our roads are among our town's most valuable assets, one which almost every resident in Garwood uses daily, so it's critical to keep them in good working condition. And that's why I've advocated for prioritizing investments in Garwood's road projects -- from our annual paving projects to the regular maintenance that prolongs the life of our roads for as long as possible.
Of course, repaving roads is not inexpensive, especially as the cost of asphalt continues to increase. But here in Garwood, we have offset 50% to 70% of the expenses of many of our road projects by applying for and receiving state grant opportunities. These grants reduce the impact to Garwood's taxpayers and allow us to keep Garwood a great value.
In the past two years, we also hired a new engineer and have implemented more efficient techniques to increase the life of our infrastructure. For example, we are beginning to replace old, broken cement curbs with Belgium blocks at no price difference, which are easier to maintain and are more aesthetically pleasing. We now also use an "echelon" paving method, which is designed to prevent the centerline crack that appears on most roads after several years and leads to the deterioration of roadways over time.
But repaving and road maintenance projects are only one piece of the puzzle to keeping our roads maintained. With increased utility work in town in the past two years, we have proactively negotiated for more paving and better communication with residents. For example, the 200 block of Spruce was recently paved by the gas company, and the curbs were done by the town, This partnership to upgrade a much-needed street not only saved costs but also minimizes resident inconvenience through many road closures.
In the future, we're also pushing for a "Report a Pothole" feature on Garwood's website, so that Garwood's residents can have a simple and easy way to report any problems with our roads. That way, we can maintain our roads properly and prevent more significant and more expensive projects down the road.
Through the "Citizens' Advisory Panel," which was newly established in January, we can solicit more resident feedback about major financial decisions such as these road projects. The nine members of this panel represent our community by reflecting a variety of job experiences, ages, years in town, and political affiliations.
With your support on November 5th, we will continue to prioritize our infrastructure to make sure that everyone in Garwood has a smooth ride while also making sure that our infrastructure projects are fiscally responsible.
Garwood Councilman and Candidate