Dear Editor:

If we have any hope for solving New Jersey's economic crisis, expanding job opportunities and providing a quality of life that attracts business and industry, we must repair and modernize our vital infrastructure. No one wants to relocate their business to an area where roads are crumbling and bridges are unsafe.

According to Forward New Jersey...New Jersey’s highway, bridge and transit network is crucial to the success of the state economy, facilitating the shipment of nearly $500 billion in goods produced by New Jersey businesses, over $59.6 billion in output related to the state’s retail trade, tourism and service industries and $70 billion in international trade. Nearly, 2.0 million New Jersey jobs fully depend on a modern updated infrastructure system.

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New Jersey’s Transportation Fund will reach insolvency on June 30, 2016, leaving the state with no ability to pay for any transportation projects and more than $16 billion in debt. According to experts, the TTF needs $20 billion over the next 10 years to maintain and improve the state’s roads, bridges, and mass transit systems, as well as to begin critical projects. The lack of a long-term solution to this dire problem threatens the safety and quality of life of residents and commuters, as well as the state’s business climate and economy.

As New Jersey’s neighboring states continue to gain jobs well past pre-recession economic levels, New Jersey has lagged the nation and the region in jobs recovered after the recession. The efficient and safe movement of goods and people is critical to the economic competitiveness of New Jersey and the quality of life for its citizens.

Collectively, NJ’s 3.9 million commuters are stuck in the car for the equivalent of an additional 35 million minutes every day, directly impacting business productivity and quality of life. Every employee, customer and business pays a price when the system is congested, unsafe or in poor condition.

As a result of an improved transportation network, New Jersey businesses will enjoy reduced operating costs and increased market access. These spillovers, or network effects, will benefit all businesses, but will be particularly important for those industries that rely more heavily on transportation, such as manufacturing, warehousing and storage, tourism, retail and wholesale trade. In addition, commuters will save time every day, which in turns leads to greater productivity and a better quality of life.

My goal would be to:

Achieve sufficient revenue that allows for $2B in annual statewide TTF capital spending, maximize the federal match, and continue to pay annual debt service obligations. We must also ensure that every dollar generated for transportation be protected and not be spent on political giveaways or pork. I support passing a constitutional amendment that will dedicate every new dollar raised to its intended purpose of strengthening transportation infrastructure.

I am asking for your vote On November 3rd so that making the proper investment in our transportation infrastructure is a priority for New Jersey. 

William “Bo” Vastine

Candidate – NJ Assembly Legislative District 22