A new report says if New Jersey is to remain competitive that more money needs to be invested into improving the state's water, electric and transportation infrastructure. The report Facing Our Future: Infrastructure Investments Necessary for Economic Success proposes a number of ways to generate the needed money, which amounts to tens of billions of dollars.

The idea was to add a depth to the understanding, not just the numbers. The numbers are easy to put out. Understanding what needs to get done," said Sam Crane, one of the report's many co-authors. Crane is a former N.J. state treasurer. Crane said this report should be taken seriously because the only motivation its authors had is to find solutions. "This is a group of people who over decades have worked together for various administrations, legislatures, foundations, and academic institutions who really care about this. 

The report was issued by The Leadership Group, an independent bi-partisan team. It received funding from Conservation Resources Inc., Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation®, The Fund for New Jersey, The Nicholson Foundation

Some of the recommendations from Facing our Future.

Electric Power:

To be truly effective, the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) must be
engaged as a proactive player in the long-term planning for the electric power distribution
system. Few elements of our critical infrastructure are more important, or have the
potential for greater impact, than electric power. Visiting the issues only in rate cases or
through the imposition of penalties is not the way to ensure New Jersey's economic
success.

Transportation:

New Jersey could consider the consolidation of the various transportation agencies into a utility-like
Public Benefits Corporation regulated by an independent, appointed Board rather than
through annual budget approval by elected officials. This new organizational approach
can lead to cost effective planning and efficient provision of transportation services, and
to the funding necessary to maintain and expand transportation services.

Water Systems Infrastructure:

New Jersey must upgrade its outmoded and inadequate water systems and reverse the
annual loss of more than 20 percent of our state's treated water supply because of leaking
pipes. To accomplish this, the report recommends support for initiatives undertaken by
private and public water companies through increased fees.