Turnpike Highway

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Turnpike Highway


In October 1948, the State Legislature enacted the New Jersey Turnpike Authority Act, which created the New Jersey Turnpike Authority "to construct, maintain, repair and operate Turnpike projects." In 1949, it was determined to build in New Jersey the finest highway in the world, linking the interstate crossings of the Hudson River with the interstate crossings of the Delaware River, for the convenience of the citizens of New Jersey and our sister states. The project was called the New Jersey Turnpike. Our Turnpike Authority has substantially completed the project with incredible speed.

America is experiencing a highway infrastructure crisis. At present 33 percent of America's major roads are in poor or mediocre condition and 36 percent of America's major urban highways are congested. Each year Americans lose 4.2 billion hours and 2.9 billion gallons of fuel stuck in traffic, creating a 78.2-billion-dollar annual drain on the U.S. economy (TTI, 2007). The crisis is caused by unbalanced transportation demand and supply. Demand on transportation has grown significantly in the last few decades associated with population and economic growth, while transportation capacity hasn't increased accordingly.

The nation's population grew by 20 percent from 1990 to 2006 and vehicle travel on highways increased by 41 percent during the same time period, while new road mileage increased by only 4 percent (TRIP, 2008). Moreover, much of the existing roadway system is beyond its designed service life and need major improvements or replacements soon (Samuel, 2000). Unfortunately, the traditional playas- you-go financing method, with motor fuel taxes as the main revenue source, could no longer support the needed transportation maintenance and expansion. Over the last two decades, the buying power of motor fuel taxes has been significantly weakened by the combined effects of inflation, improved vehicle fuel efficiency, increased construction costs and diversion of road funding to other transportation programs (state.nj.us/turnpike, 2011).

When turnpike was built?

After the Turnpike was built in 1952, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the New York State Thruway Authority proposed a 13-mile (21 km) extension of the New Jersey Turnpike that would go from its end (at U.S. 46 in Ridgefield Park at the time) up to West Nyack, New York at Interstate 87 (I-87), the New York State Thruway. The portion through New Jersey was to be constructed and maintained by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, while the portion in New York was to be built and maintained by the New York Thruway Authority.

Why Turnpike was built?

In the late 1980s the nation's highway system started to rapidly decay. Since then the U.S. government has endeavored to once again utilize toll financing as a supplementary source for transportation finance. The particular method of using private finance for toll road development has ignited a heated debate. Proponents argue the method attracts private capital, offers real efficiency gains, and shifts project risks from government. Government financial pressure is often the main driving force behind the use of private finance. Besides, most governments perceive that there are political benefits from keeping large capital projects like ...
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