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Op-Ed: New Jersey's Comeback is Just Beginning

We need to develop ways to solve core issues like infrastructure and housing.

While Governor Christie has some accomplishments worth touting, there is still much to be desired before a New Jersey comeback truly begins.

Housing continues to be unnecessarily expensive. State and local governments overregulate the housing industry, particularly with their land-use and zoning restrictions, and stand in the way of the private market's capacity to develop affordable and market-rate housing in conformity with a sound State Development and Redevelopment Plan.

To be competitive, we also need to develop an infrastructure (transportation, wastewater, drinking water, energy, and parks) funding plan that puts folks back to work and improves our medium- to long-term economic competitiveness. Our infrastructure continues to crumble and yet be ignored for the smoke and mirrors of job growth without recognition of the cumulative impact.

Proper maintenance and an upgrade of our public infrastructure and housing stock is one of the best economic development approaches to maintaining and attracting new businesses, stable households, and fiscally sound communities. With federal infrastructure funding continuing to decrease and housing costs pricing our employees out of the state, New Jersey needs to develop new and innovative ways to solving core issues.

Governor Christie says, “Do the big and difficult things because it lays the foundation for future greatness." We, at the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association, agree. Let's do just that.

We need a bolder vision beyond short-term financial incentives, one that puts people back to work -- planning, engineering, and building trades working together to deliver a quality of life that makes our state second to none and a truly attractive place to do business.

Charles Latini Jr. PP, AICP, is president of the American Planning Association New Jersey Chapter (APA-NJ), which represents 1,100 New Jersey planners, and works to promote sound land-use planning essential to improving the quality of life of the citizens of New Jersey. More information is available online.

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