The Biden administration announced more than $65 million of investments to help the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service improve water quality, roads, trails and fish habitat nationwide but none of that money is heading to New Jersey, in yet another example of poor advocacy among the state’s congressional delegation.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provided funding for selected projects in 33 states during the 2022 fiscal year. New Jersey is not one of them as the Garden State continues to get about 75 cents on each dollar that it sends to Washington, the fourth-lowest return on federal tax dollars among the 50 states.
The Forest Service is directly responsible for more than 160,000 miles of trails, 6,700 road bridges, 7,200 trail bridges, and 370,000 miles of roads in a variety of ecological settings in landscapes ranging from alpine highlands to tropical rain forests.
Senator Cory Booker is a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, but New Jersey is one of only seven American states that have no areas served by the US Forest Service.
Roads and trails in need of repair deteriorate and discharge sediment into streams that could contaminate water, block stream flow, and cause irreparable harm to aquatic fish species.
Road and trail improvements increase ecological and resource connectivity and they improve overall watershed conditions while protecting infrastructure to better withstand flooding and other natural disasters.
The Legacy Roads and Trails Remediation Program supports the Forest Service’s mission by restoring, protecting, and maintaining crucial watersheds on our national forests and grasslands.
This is accomplished by restoring fish and aquatic organism passage, improving road and trail resiliency, preserving access, and decommissioning unneeded roads as determined by transportation planning.
Protecting threatened, endangered, and sensitive species, and community water sources are among the top priorities for projects that improve and maintain access. Emergency operations that rely upon evacuation routes during wildfires, floods or other natural disasters also benefit from this program.
The weak return on federal tax dollars was confirmed last year in separate reports by the Rutgers Economic Advisory Service and the Rockefeller Institute of Government, each comparing the amount of federal tax dollars paid by each state with the allocations of federal funding received.