In June, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released its 2016 Report Card for New Jersey’s Infrastructure.  Unfortunately, they assigned our state an overall grade of “D+” based on the condition and performance of our roads, bridges, drinking water, energy and other vital infrastructure.

Clearly, we have plenty of room for improvement. Toward that end, electric utilities have been rebuilding the state’s electric system to better meet the energy needs of customers who rely on electricity to power their businesses and everyday lives.

A recent example is JCP&L’s Monmouth County Reliability Project (MCRP), which, if approved by the BPU, will result in a stronger, modernized electrical system benefiting nearly 214,000 customers in the county. The $111 million project is expected to create approximately 245 temporary jobs, while delivering economic benefits of nearly $43 million in compensation, nearly $60 million in gross domestic product and $12.6 million in state and local revenues.  Construction would begin after JCP&L receives BPU approval and other required permits and approvals, with a planned in-service date of June 2019.

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MCRP uses an existing New Jersey Transit railroad right-of-way between substations operating in Aberdeen and Red Bank, and includes a 230-kV transmission line, substation enhancements and modern technology upgrades.  PJM Interconnection, the independent organization that coordinates the movement of electricity and oversees transmission reliability across New Jersey and 12 other states, confirms the need for this project.  An analysis conducted by a local real estate expert concluded that the project won’t impact local property values, which already reflect the effect of an active commuter rail line in the area.  

The fact is, New Jersey has a rich tradition of infrastructure investments that support economic growth and prosperity – and we’ll likely see a significant improvement in future ASCE report cards when projects such as JCP&L’s Monmouth County Reliability Project are completed.