Policy Summit Examines Solutions To NJ’s Infrastructure Challenges
New Leaders Council NJ Spurs Dialogue on One Of States Most Pressing Issues
This past Saturday at the Rutgers University Student Activities Center, the New Jersey Chapter of the New Leaders Council (NLC-New Jersey), held its 2nd Annual Policy Summit focused on “Improving New Jersey’s Infrastructure.
The keynote speaker for the event was former New Jersey Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox, who was making his 1st public appearance since leaving the position. Fox talked about the implications of the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund potentially running out of money at the end of June and real reform at the Port Authority to help New Jersey’s infrastructure. “Crisis presents opportunity,” said Fox.
Maggie Moran, Managing Partner of Kivvit, moderated a panel on recent developments in public transportation and the future of transportation in New Jersey, including the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund and the Gateway Project featuring Robert Briant of the Utility and Transportation Contractors Association of New Jersey, Joseph McNamara with the Laborers Employers Cooperation and Education Trust, Courtenay Mercer of the Regional Plan Association and Mike Smart of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.
“The future of New Jersey is completely dependent on a robust and modernized transportation and transit infrastructure,” said Maggie Moran. “That is why this forum is so critical and I applaud NLC for hosting such a lively discussion. If we fail to invest in the Transportation Trust Fund our quality of life, economic prosperity and safety will be in jeopardy. We cannot wait to act any longer - NLC is performing a terrific public service by making sure this next generation of leaders is educated on this crisis.”
Roy Cho of NLC-NJ moderated a discussion on the need for infrastructure development and potential return on investment, including funding mechanisms such as public-private partnerships featuring Michael Hanley from NW Financial, Carlos Medina from the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey and New Jersey Assemblyman Troy Singleton. “We have to start thinking outside the box to develop solutions to this problem,” said Singleton.
To close the policy summit, Stephanie Lagos of NLC-NJ moderated a panel discussion on technological advantages that have the potential to increase efficiency, create cleaner energy, and change the way New Jersey’s energy infrastructure functions with panelists Leslie Barkemeyer of Sol Systems, Commissioner Upendra Chivukula from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, Kenneth Esser with PSEG and Kris Ohleth of Ecology and Environment, Inc.
“If we are going to solve the problems facing our generation it is imperative to have honest, open and frank conversations with leaders from throughout the stakeholder community,” said Justin Braz, NLC-NJ Chapter Director. “New Leaders Council will continue to be at the forefront in engaging policy conversations for our generation as evidenced by Saturday's remarkable turnout.”