Working for Smart Growth:
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New Jersey Leads the Way in Climate-Friendly Transportation Policy

Report Ranks Garden State Second in the Nation, Though the Future of its Policies is Uncertain

Dec. 14, 2010

Jay Corbalis  (jcorbalisatnjfuturedotorg)  , New Jersey Future, 609-393-0008 ext 110
Alex Goldschmidt  (agoldschmidtatsmartgrowthamericadotorg)  , Smart Growth America, 202-207-3355 x112,

Trenton – A new study released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Smart Growth America (SGA), titled “Getting Back on Track: Climate Change and State Transportation Policy,” ranks New Jersey second in the nation for its statewide transportation policies and its ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Maryland was ranked first.

The report examined transportation spending decisions and policies in all 50 states to determine what impact state decisions have on carbon emission rates.
Several factors contributed to New Jersey’s high ranking. The state’s Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit was cited as an innovative way to encourage transit-oriented development, which can help reduce emissions by reducing the amount that people need to drive. New Jersey also got high marks for its smart-growth policies, which include the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, as well as the work of the state’s three regional planning entities: the Pinelands Commission, Highlands Council and Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission.

“While New Jersey’s high ranking represents an affirmation of the state’s transportation and land-use policies, it is unclear how long we will continue to be a leader in this regard,” said New Jersey Future Executive Director Peter Kasabach. “Many of the policies and programs cited in the study are now in question.

“For example, the state has made little effort to pursue the greenhouse gas reduction goals laid out by the Legislature in the Global Warming Response Act, passed in 2007,” Kasabach continued. “In addition, the status of the State Plan, which received praise in the study, is in limbo at the moment as the state figures out what role the Office of Planning Advocacy (formerly the Office of Smart Growth) should play in the new administration.”

New Jersey Future Policy Analyst Jay Corbalis added, “Transportation is the largest and fastest-growing source of emissions in New Jersey. Tackling those emissions will take more than improving gas mileage; we should design our communities in a way that allows residents to drive less, while providing more transportation alternatives. Unfortunately, recent fare hikes at NJ Transit — and the cancellation of the largest transit project in the nation — send the opposite message about New Jersey’s commitment to lower its transportation emissions.”

The full report is available at


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