Adding It All Up: The Path to Saving $2 Billion on the Cost of New Jersey’s Roads and Bridges

The third in a series of reports focusing on the true size of New Jersey’s expansive government, how much is being spent in specific categories and, most importantly, identifying opportunities where it can be made more efficient.

Adding It All Up: The Path to Saving $2 Billion on the Cost of New Jersey's Roads and Bridges includes recommendations based upon a data-driven analysis of our investments in our state’s roads and bridges. This report identifies $2 billion in savings that can be reinvested for tangible improvements to our state’s infrastructure.

Key findings from the report are:

  • When adjusted for the state’s population density and general costs of doing business, the results of this analysis shows that New Jersey far outspends 7 peer states in the Mid-Atlantic/New England region when it comes to core transportation services per state-controlled lane mile. New Jersey spends over $238,000 per state-controlled lane mile, the highest among the states analyzed. The next expensive state, Massachusetts, spends only approximately $197,000 per lane mile.

Click above to download the report.

Click above to download the report.

  • If New Jersey spent on par with the second best among the peer group, Delaware, taxpayers would save $1.5 billion; spending on par with the leader, Pennsylvania, would save $2 billion or 20% annually.

  • Three common-sense strategies, employing best practices from other states, are detailed in this report and offer a path to achieve significant savings for taxpayers and provide funds for additional investments in modernizing our infrastructure:

    1. De-layering and consolidation of services as implemented in Massachusetts. Since inception in November 2009 and up to FY15 the Commonwealth reports the reform has saved over $525 million.

    2. Private Public Partnerships (P3s) as utilized in Illinois, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s $1 billion Rapid Bridge Replacement Program, which competitively selected a private firm to replace over 550 structurally deficient bridges and maintain them for decades. The P3 is nearly ten years ahead of schedule of what a traditional public project delivery system would have allowed for and the projected annual maintenance cost for each bridge is $10,000—40 percent less than if Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation remained responsible for maintenance.

    3. Modernizing project planning, budgeting, and scoring as implemented in Virginia, via Smart Scale, a scoring dashboard dedicated to picking the right transportation projects for funding and ensuring the best use of tax dollars. The dashboard ultimately leaves the statewide transportation entity, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, with discretion over projects, but requires that the Board defend and document any changes from what Smart Scale recommends. Smart Scale’s detractors are, unsurprisingly, those projects and areas that don’t happen to receive an allocation for a given year.

Adding It All Up: New Jersey’s Opportunity to Reduce $200 Million in School Transportation Costs

The second in a five-part series focusing on the true size of New Jersey’s expansive government, how much is being spent in specific categories and, most importantly, identifying opportunities where it can be made more efficient.

Our second installment is dedicated to a data-driven analysis on the state’s student transportation expenses and recommendations to achieve savings of $200 million.

Read a copy of the report below, or click here for a downloadable version.

To utilize our interactive database comparing school districts across the state please click here.

Some key takeaways from the report:

  • At a cost of $1.2 billion, New Jersey transports nearly three quarters of a million students daily at an average cost of $1,508 per pupil, representing one of the largest outside-the-classroom costs for hundreds of school districts.

  • The statewide average does not illuminate the considerable variation among school districts:

    • the middle 50 percent of school districts spend between $1,160 and $3,361 per student and more than 37 school districts spend over $10,000 per student transported.

  • Based on a model that compares school districts on a level playing field, if every district were able to make meaningful improvement relative to where they’re starting from, they could save close to $200 million overall on transportation costs. But, if every school district just spent at the expected amount predicted by their fundamental characteristics, taxpayers would save $146 million.

  • We offer a key series of cost saving strategies and recommendations based on best practices from other states such as Maryland and North Carolina, which transport students at costs 30 and 46 percent less than New Jersey, respectively, as well as other existing policies from the state Department of Education.

Adding It All Up: An Impartial Look at NJ’s $117 Billion Government

The first in a five-part series focusing on the true size of New Jersey’s expansive government, how much is being spent in specific categories and, most importantly, identifying opportunities where it can be made more efficient.

Our first installment is dedicated to capturing the true size and cost of New Jersey’s government.

Read a copy of the report below, or click here for a downloadable version.

Some key takeaways from the report:

·The consolidated cost of government services in NJ is $117 billiontriple the size of the annual state budget.

·That $117 billion funds 1,522 government entities – one government entity for every 6,000 New Jersey residents.

·At 22%, public employee benefits are the largest expenditure category for the state – well exceeding health care and transportation.

·Property tax collections of $28 billion account for 24% of all revenue collected and dwarf the next two largest revenue sources, which are the $14 billion each from Income Tax and Federal Aid.

With the raging debate regarding NJ’s total tax burden we’re not looking to take an axe to indiscriminately cut spending, but rather, offering practical solutions that will maintain the quality of services offered and save $1 billion tax dollars.In coming weeks, we will issue additional reports related to specific areas of government spending and how to achieve realistic savings.