ISTEA Reauthorization
April 7, 1997

Good afternoon, I'm Phil Beachem, president of the New Jersey Alliance for Action, and I'm pleased today to represent also the ISTEA Works for New Jersey Coalition.

I want to thank Senator Warner, Senator Baucus, and Senator Moynihan for the time that you've given us and the opportunity to solicit our input on this important issue. I also want to pay special recognition to Senator Frank Lautenberg.

Senator, about 200 of your constituents traveled here this morning. Some of us came by charter bus. A number of us came by ferry from Monmouth County. Some of us took the PATH train, some of us took the regular train. A few dared to drive here this morning. I think they may regret it a little later on when they leave. Really, that's what ISTEA is all about, because all of those modes have been affected one way or another by ISTEA.

On behalf of 200 constituents of yours that are here, I want to personally thank you for the hard work that you have given to these citizens of the State of New Jersey on this and many other issues. Thank you.

The Alliance for Action is a unique nonprofit, nonpartisan, State-wide coalition of some 600 business, labor, professional, academic, and governmental organizations. We are committed to economic progress, creation of jobs, and responsible protection of the environment.

ISTEA I has made significant contributions to each of these goals: the economy, jobs, and the environment. That is why the issue of reauthorizing ISTEA without substantive change has galvanized and brought together every segment of New Jersey's economic, civic, and community life, a unity and diversity that probably has never been achieved before behind a single issue.

Our coalition has republicans and democrats working together, business and labor, environmentalists and developers, highway and public transit advocates, and the elected leaders of our cities and counties, urban, suburban, and rural.

Someone once remarked that ISTEA I is more of an economic development initiative rather than simply a transportation bill. I think there is much truth to this statement.

The impact on New Jersey's economy of ISTEA I has been profound. Let me give you one quick illustration.

The New Jersey Alliance for Action annually holds a construction forecast seminar at which representatives of an array of public and private organizations preview their construction plans for the future.

The most recent seminar projected an increase of 17 percent in private and public construction, or $2 billion for this year and next. And guess what is leading the way? Capital investment in transportation information generated in great part by ISTEA dollars.

In a landmark study by the Foundation of the New Jersey Alliance for Action -- and I have a copy which I'll be glad to submit to the committee -- a team of outstanding economic consultants estimated New Jersey's infrastructure needs to the turn of the century at $95 billion. Of that total, half, or $48 billion, were in transportation infrastructure needs.

The report, which received national attention, made these comments. One, "Transportation facilities -- roads, public transportation, ports, and airports -- link our cities to each other, our farms the market, and New Jersey's economy to the rest of the Nation and the world."

Investment in infrastructure has a strong impact on the level of private investment, on the productivity of private firms, and thus on personal income.

The economic benefits from ISTEA I affect not only New Jersey, but the entire region. This region is the hub of international commerce and the corridor State for one of the Nation's busiest regions. More people and goods pass through this region using our roads, public transit, ports, and airports than almost any other State.

We use ISTEA dollars to coordinate regional and local transportation strategies that promote economic growth and a better quality of life for everyone.

New Jersey sends $17 billion more in taxes to Washington than it gets back. Only ISTEA I has restored some balance of fairness based on the needs of an older urban congested corridor State with an aging transportation infrastructure.

The ISTEA Works for New Jersey Coalition requests the renewal of transportation funding formula which reflects each State's individual needs.

Thank you very much.