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

Charles Latini Jr. | January 19, 2012 | Opinion
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.