As details about the federal economic stimulus were revealed, NJDOT assumed that we would be required to authorize projects within 180 days. NJDOT initially selected $1.4 billion in highway and bridge projects based on our ability to meet the following guidelines within 180 days:
- Advance projects with minimal community impacts, ROW acquisition, and permit requirements.
- Complete environmental document approvals.
- Streamline NJDOT’s internal review process and making project delivery as cost-effective and efficient as possible.
- Identify projects located throughout the state.
- Identify construction as well as critical design and right of way initiatives so that future construction projects can be ready for delivery sooner than planned.
Ultimately, the stimulus package required federal authorization of 50 percent of the allotted funding within 120 days of appropriation. Many of the projects in NJDOT’s initial, $1.4 billion pool could not be authorized within the 120-day timeframe. In addition, the total federal stimulus dollars available to NJDOT totaled approximately $470 million dollars. This required us to develop a program that would best meet the goals presented and put New Jersey in the best position to receive additional funding in the case that such funds are available through redistribution.
As a result of the parameters outlined by the bill, NJDOT’s ability to deliver projects quickly became the defining factor in project selection, in addition to application of sound engineering principles and extensive use of data generated by the Department’s infrastructure management systems (bridge, pavement and drainage) to guide our project selection.
NJDOT subsequently used the guidelines listed above to identify projects that can be fully authorized within 120 days. We determined that we can use stimulus funding to authorize 40 projects that are located throughout New Jersey and valued at $469 million.
Selected projects include high cost movable bridge replacements, bridge deck replacements and rehabilitations, bridge deck and beam replacement, bridge painting, roadway reconstruction, resurfacing, drainage improvements and highway safety improvements. NJDOT will devote its stimulus allotment to acquiring right-of-way for one project, designing nine projects and starting construction on 30 projects. In addition, NJDOT identified additional shovel-ready projects and is prepared to obligate any additional stimulus funds that may be redirected to New Jersey through redistribution.
The proposed projects represent an opportunity to improve New Jersey’s infrastructure based upon the need for each project and the specified timelines of the stimulus legislation.