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Mass transit a key cog in New Jersey's transportation landscape, study says

The number of miles New Jersey residents traveled by rail and bus rose about 45 percent from 1997 to 2007 — more than twice the growth rate for miles driven — but the state won’t have adequate funds to meet residents’ future transportation needs unless lawmakers find additional revenue, according to a study released last week by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

Titled "The State of Transportation: Benchmarks for Sustainable Transportation in New Jersey,” the study found that New Jersey lawmakers will need to fill a gap in the state’s nearly bankrupt Transportation Trust Fund by 2011 because of lagging gasoline tax receipts. The study examined trends in 25 transportation measures, including infrastructure, service, travel choices, congestion, reliability, and economic and environmental impacts.

Among other study findings:
• More people are living farther away from their workplace and where new jobs are being created;
• Truck travel continues to grow, jumping 30 percent from 1997 to 2007, but has been declining in recent years; and
• New Jersey has made strides in reducing emissions from cars and trucks, but greenhouse-gas emissions continue to rise in line with fuel consumption.

“New Jersey residents are embracing mass transit," said Tri-State Transportation Campaign Executive Director Kate Slevin in a prepared statement.  "The facts in this report should guide the next governor's transportation policies.”

The non-profit Tri-State Transportation Campaign aims to foster a more balanced, transit-friendly and equitable transportation system in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.

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More News from 8/10/2009