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Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco Pushes Shared Services and Several Initiatives Including focus on the Route 17 Bottleneck in His 9th State of the County Address

the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Hackensack NJ, on Tuesday, Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco presented his 9th State of the County Address. In his remarks, Tedesco celebrated the completion of major administrative initiatives including the implementation of Bergen County’s own Emergency Medical Services Ambulatory Unit, the opening of the Bergen County Training Annex at the Law and Public Safety Institute, and the completion of five large-scale park upgrades including the renovations of the Darlington Driving Range and grand opening of the Bergen County Rowing Center in Riverside County Park.

Continue reading Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco Pushes Shared Services and Several Initiatives Including focus on the Route 17 Bottleneck in His 9th State of the County Address

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Ridgewood Roads Are Terrible and Have Been For Over a Decade

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, the village of Ridgewood roads are all in terrible shape despite the mild winter. In fact they have been in terrible shape for most of the last decade .It seems bad roads are the norm and becoming like Ridgewood Water restrictions , something that never goes away while water bills and property taxes keep going up .

Continue reading Ridgewood Roads Are Terrible and Have Been For Over a Decade

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Neighbors Say Not so Fast to Fourteen New Townhomes in River Vale

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

River Vale NJ, neighbors are not happy with a fourteen new townhomes proposal that could be built at Rivervale Road and Collignon Way if an application before the joint Planning Board wins approval in River Vale.

Continue reading Neighbors Say Not so Fast to Fourteen New Townhomes in River Vale

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Newark New Jersey Ranked as the Dirtiest City in America

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Newark NJ, Rats, mold, pollution, and trash plague many U.S. cities big and small — but the problem is worse in some than in others. So, what are 2022’s Dirtiest Cities in America?

LawnStarter ranked nearly 90 of the biggest U.S. cities across four key categories, including pollution, living conditions, infrastructure, and consumer satisfaction.

See which cities are due for a spring cleaning below, followed by some highlights and lowlights from our report.

Continue reading Newark New Jersey Ranked as the Dirtiest City in America

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Most Voters Agree: It’s Not a ‘Real Infrastructure Bill’

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood  NJ, a majority of voters agree with a Republican senator’s denunciation of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package that passed the Senate this week.

Continue reading Most Voters Agree: It’s Not a ‘Real Infrastructure Bill’

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Murphy Administration Has Failed to Deliver on Infrastructure Improvements Promised by the “Gas Tax”

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Morristown NJ,  As many of us are driving more lately, some utilizing public transportation again and some fortunate residents are just returning to work, observations regarding the continued state of disrepair of many roads and bridges in New Jersey have resurfaced. Along with those observations comes some questions the Garden StateInitiative (GSI) believes the public should be asking of our leaders in Trenton. What should we have expected to get from our Gas Tax money? And why would we keep paying more until we see better results?

Continue reading Murphy Administration Has Failed to Deliver on Infrastructure Improvements Promised by the “Gas Tax”

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Ridgewood Train Station

Operating budget keeps fares stable; Capital budget continues financial commitment to enhance overall customer experience

July 13,2017
the staff of the Ridgewood

Ridgewood NJ,  The NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors today adopted a Fiscal Year 2018 (FY 2018) operating budget and capital program that supports continued investments in infrastructure and equipment to maintain the system in a state of good repair and enhance the overall customer experience.

“NJ TRANSIT is moving forward with a balanced budget that reflects a laser-like look at individual business lines in order to maximize efficiencies and maintain a safe transportation system,” NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Steven H. Santoro. “As transit professionals, we owe our customers and stakeholders a solid plan that has the least impact on our riders.  After much hard work, I am confident we delivered on that.”

The Board adopted a $2.218 billion operating budget and a $1.367 billion capital program for Fiscal Year 2018.

Almost half of the revenue in the FY 2018 operating budget comes from passenger revenue ($1.014 billion), supported by a comparable amount from state and federal program reimbursements ($947.7 million) with the balance from a combination of commercial revenues ($115.2 million) and state operating assistance ($140.9 million).

The capital program calls for continued investment in the state’s transit infrastructure to maintain a continued state-of-good-repair and provide reliable transit service.

Operating Budget

The FY 2018 operating budget reflects an increase of state and federal reimbursements, which will enable NJ TRANSIT to meet the agency’s projected expenses this fiscal year.  Approximately 61 percent of the operating budget is dedicated to labor and fringe benefits costs.  Other significant expenses include materials and supplies and purchased transportation, which equal 25 percent of the operating budget.

Overall passenger revenue and commercial revenue represents approximately 51 percent of the total revenue.

Capital Program

The FY 2018 capital program continues to prioritize investment in infrastructure to maintain an overall state of good repair, enhance safety and reliability, and improve the overall customer experience on the system.

With the FY 2018 capital program, NJ TRANSIT continues its financial commitment to Positive Train Control.

The program continues to invest in railroad bridge rehabilitation, track replacement, signal upgrades, repairs to overhead power lines and electric substations as well as investments into the state-of-good-repair of the Northeast Corridor (NEC),
the agency’s most utilized rail line.

Approximately 53 percent of the program funds the basic capital program improvements needed to maintain and improve the transit system, including $201 million in rail infrastructure needs and $109 million in rail rolling stock improvements.

Other highlights of the program include $47 million in rail station improvements:  $3 million for Cranford Station; $9 million for Elizabeth Station; $18 million for Perth Amboy Station; $2 million for Roselle Park Station; and $6 million for other station and terminal improvements, inspections and repairs.

The program also supports continued investment in the light rail system with $168 million being invested in bus and light rail infrastructure improvements: $99 million for replacement vehicles; $11 million for the Capital Asset Replacement Programs for both the Newark Light Rail and Hudson-Bergen Light Rail systems; and $17 million for bus passenger facilities and bus support facilities/equipment.

In addition, this budget allows for $86 million to be invested in system-wide improvements including: $9 million in technology improvements and $6 million for safety improvements; $33 million in system expansion improvements, including $29 million for Northern Branch Expansion and $4 million for the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Route 440 Improvement.

Approximately 50 percent of the capital budget comes from the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF), with 47 percent from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and 3 percent from other sources.

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How Safe Are Our Crumbling Bridges And Vulnerable Buildings?

road work Milled asphalt being dumped

file photo Boyd Loving

America’s bridges need work.

November 20,2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, So do some of the nation’s buildings – both old and new – that were designed to avoid collapsing during an earthquake or other major catastrophe, but aren’t quite up to the task of remaining inhabitable after disaster strikes.

“Earthquakes are possible just about any place, not just in California,” says Douglas P. Taylor, president of Taylor Devices (, which manufactures seismic dampers that protect structures during such events as earthquakes and high winds.

“New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and many other places that you don’t usually think about can have seismic activity as Oklahoma recently did.  If buildings, bridges and other structures aren’t designed to withstand the shock, they can endanger the lives of drivers and the building’s occupants.”

Taylor says these structural problems are more widespread than most people realize. Some of the issues include:

• Bridge aging and deterioration. Across the United States, 58,500 bridges are structurally deficient, according to a report by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association. That represents about 9.5 percent of the nation’s bridges. “That’s definitely a concern for the people who use those bridges every day,” Taylor says. From a technological standpoint they can be fixed, but Taylor says he worries the money to do so isn’t coming any time soon, at least in part because the nation’s debt makes it difficult for the government to make the appropriate investment in the nation’s infrastructure.
• Older buildings without proper earthquake-resistant engineering. Some older buildings aren’t designed to withstand a seismic event. For example, many of the old brownstone apartment buildings in New York have “virtually nothing holding them together if the building whips back and forth,” Taylor says. Anything made of brick or concrete also can be problematic.
• The limits of building codes. Current building codes require that a new building be constructed so it won’t collapse during a major earthquake. But even when they remain standing, buildings can sustain enough damage to cause them to be condemned and therefore unusable. “People think that if they move into a brand new building that meets all the modern building codes, that their building will perform well during earthquakes and they will be able to inhabit them immediately after a seismic event,” Taylor says. “They also think the contents of the building, including personal items, will be intact. This is simply not true.” In this case, he says, a lack of awareness may be a major factor in keeping the necessary fixes from happening.

“I think you can look at the nation’s vulnerability in this area as a bad news and good news situation,” Taylor says. “Clearly, the bad news is the potential hazard for people and property. The good news is that we’re not facing something that’s unsolvable. We as a nation just need to recognize that these problems exist and have a determination to address them.”

About Douglas P. Taylor

Douglas P. Taylor is president of Taylor Devices (, which manufactures seismic dampers that protect structures during such events as earthquakes and high winds. He is inventor or co-inventor of 34 patents in the fields of energy management, hydraulics and shock isolation. In 2015, he was inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame by NASA and the Space Foundation.

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Garret Demands Federal Railroad Administration share information on safety for trains carrying crude oil through district

Tanker Train

October 09,2015

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ , According Rep Scott Garrett  , “This week in Bergen County we saw a train derailment. While thankfully there were no injuries or environmental damage, it’s obvious that we need to know that the train lines carrying hazardous materials through our towns are safe and reliable. Today I requested that the Federal Railroad Administration share information about the safety condition of train tracks and infrastructure carrying crude oil through New Jersey’s Fifth District.”

Furthermore Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05) today called upon Sarah Feinberg, Acting Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), to share information about the safety condition of train tracks and infrastructure carrying crude oil through New Jersey’s Fifth District. The letter asks FRA to acquire the most recent inspection reports from CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway and establish a time for the Congressman and local officials to review the reports.

“Just this week in Bergen County we saw a train derailment,” said Garrett. “While thankfully there were no injuries or environmental damage, it’s obvious that we need to know that the train lines carrying hazardous materials through our towns are safe and reliable.”

Specifically, Garrett requested the following information for the time period covering January 1, 2013 to the present as it relates to rail infrastructure within the Fifth District of New Jersey:

All safety inspection reports currently in the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) possession
Any recommendations made to the rail industry to improve the condition of the rail infrastructure
Any findings of structurally deficient rail infrastructure
The schedule of future FRA safety inspections
Notices from the rail industry on scheduled maintenance and infrastructure upgrades

“We have a right to know if the rail infrastructure in our communities meets or exceeds safety standards and, if it does not, what action is being taken to address any deficiencies,” wrote Garrett in the letter. “This is information that my constituents should not have to wait long to receive.”

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Reader says Its Time to Fix Ridgewood Water


“The Ridgewood Water System is unlike many other systems as it relies on a system of over 45 wells, associated treatment systems, piping, storage and more. These appurtenances have their limits and become extremely stressed when there is noncompliance with watering restrictions during a drought condition”

The candor is indeed refreshing, but it does point out that we are relying on an ancient, decrepit water pumping infrastructure that’s not adequate to our needs. This situation has been ongoing for at least 35 years. Without drastic (Level IV) water restrictions, we run the risk of being unable to fight fires. This is not a particularly extreme drought, but we’re already at the limit of our ability to enforce conservation. And what’s the solution to the problem? Deploy the uniformed services — the ones with the guns — and impose drastic fines

This is not merely oversight; it borders on negligence. It’s exactly the performance we’ve come to expect from public utilities. It’s time to fix this.

Council minutes Work Session ..JANUARY 28, 2009
Valley View Water tank originally was to be 100 foot diameter 1.7 million gallon.
Residents of the Heights got water tank size down to 75 foot 1.13 million gallon

“Mayor Pfund added that he thought that the Ridgewood Water Company actually did a very good job in reaching out to the community. He also congratulated the residents for bringing the size of the tank down from a 1.7 million gallon, 100-foot diameter tank to a 1.13 million gallon, 75-foot diameter tank.”

The council meeting minutes 2/13/2008 – comments from group of 100 Heights residents opposing the 100 ft diameter tank. The chief engineer at that time even stated if it were up to him, he would build the tank even bigger than the originally proposed 100 ft tank.. The resident living adjacent to tank property, has since sold her house 12/2012. google 69 Valley View, adjacent water tank property is 71 – 73 valley view.

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APTOPIX Amtrak Crash

by JOHN NOLTE13 May 2015

Before the dead were counted and the facts known, the craven, partisan ghouls in our mainstream media were already using a terrible domestic tragedy to call for more government spending.

The media’s politically-loaded word of the day is “infrastructure.” This comes as absolutely no surprise when you understand that the foundation of all media bias is to increase the size and power of our centralized government. And what better way to do that than to feast off the fresh corpses of those killed on a passenger train run by our bloated, incompetent federal government.

And what better way to distract from the fact that 6 innocent people died on a passenger train run by our bloated, incompetent federal government than to blame-shift to the selfish taxpayers and the evil Republican Party.

You see, Amtrak is like Baltimore: although government has had its fingers in everything for decades, the only solution is more government.

Heads up! This is the media’s game-plan for the rest of the week: At least through the Sunday shows, the media will exploit the Amtrak tragedy to call for more government spending and blame Republicans.

That makes this a perfect time to arm yourselves with the facts:

The Federal Government Owns and Operates Amtrak

Amtrak Loses Hundreds of Millions of Dollars a Year

American Taxpayers Subsidize a Service They Don’t Use

Very Small Percentage of the Population Use a Government Service We All Pay For

Amtrak Has Already Been Subsidized to the Tune of a Whopping $45 billion

Amtrak Is Set to Receive Another $7 Billion Over the Next 5 years

Amtrak Is Not Under-Funded, It Is Criminally Mismanaged

American People Subsidize $60 of Every Amtrak Ticket Sold

Taxpayers Subsidize Passengers Who Can Afford to Make Amtrak Profitable

There Is No Good Reason for The Government To Own Amtrak

The Amtrak Derailment Might Be Yet Another Failure of the Federal Government

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Washington Is Mismanaging Your Gas Tax Dollars. Here’s Why States Should Have Control.


Michael Sargent / May 12, 2015

Transportation funding could hit a dead-end at the end of the month. On May 31, the Highway Trust Fund’s authorization to pay for the nation’s highway and mass transit projects will expire.

Even worse, the fund is running a $13 billion cash flow deficit this year and is expected to exhaust all its money sometime in July unless lawmakers take action.

Here’s a snapshot from Heritage’s latest Backgrounder on what you need to know about the Highway Trust Fund:

What is the Highway Trust Fund?

The Highway Trust Fund was established in 1956 to pay for the construction of the Interstate Highway System. Although it was intended to be temporary, it is now the primary federal mechanism to finance transportation projects across the country.

The fund is financed mostly by the gas tax—an 18.3 cent tax on gasoline and a 24.3 cent tax on diesel fuels. It spends over $50 billion every year on roads and mass transit, which includes rail, buses, streetcars and other forms of public transportation.

What’s the problem?

Like most federal programs, the Highway Trust Fund consistently spends more than it receives in revenues. Congress has constantly had to bailout the fund with money from the Treasury in order to keep its balance in the black, and has spent $62 billion covering the fund’s shortfalls since 2008.

This year, the Congressional Budget Office projected the Highway Trust Fund’s spending will top its revenues by $13 billion.

Why is the fund in such bad shape?

Unable to relinquish the taxing and spending authority that should have expired when the Interstate Highway System was completed in the 1980s, Congress has expanded the Highway Trust Fund far beyond its intended scope.

The fund now spends more than ever and diverts billions from roadways to projects that should be left to states and localities. These boondoggles not only include unnecessary mass transit projects, but things like sidewalks, roadside landscaping and bike paths.

And spending increases have vastly outpaced fuel tax revenues, which have flattened as cars have become more fuel efficient. The result is a meandering, unsustainable fund that is plagued by special interests and unreliable for state transportation planning.

What should Congress do about it?

Some members of Congress are saying that they should just provide more money to the trust fund, either through a bailout or a gas tax hike, so that it can continue its profligate spending.

This is the wrong approach.

Congress needs to examine the inherent flaws in the way the nation invests in transportation infrastructure. The current system of taxing drivers and then redistributing their money through the federal government to projects unrelated to highways no longer makes sense.

Instead, Congress should end the top-down approach that breeds inefficiency and special interest handouts at the expense of prudent infrastructure investment.

The right approach would be to let states and localities—which are more in touch with the needs of their citizens—make their own decisions on transportation. Allowing them to tax and spend on infrastructure as they see fit without the interference of Washington would inject a much-needed degree of accountability and reliability into transportation investment.

For more information on the Highway Trust Fund and the upcoming deadline, see Highway Trust Fund Basics: A Primer on Federal Surface Transportation Spending.

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Learning From Superstorm Sandy: PSE&G Improves Infrastructure, Communications and Logistics


file photo Boyd Loving

Learning From Superstorm Sandy: PSE&G Improves Infrastructure, Communications and Logistics
October 28, 2014

(Newark, N.J. – Oct. 28, 2014) Superstorm Sandy was the most powerful and destructive storm in Public Service Electric and Gas Company’s 111-year history, causing more than 2 million PSE&G customers to lose power. In the two years since the storm, PSE&G, which serves nearly three-quarters of New Jersey’s population, continues to make significant improvements to its infrastructure, communications and logistics that will keep more customers in service during a storm, and restore service faster in the aftermath.

”During the two-week period following Sandy, we made more than 2 million electric service restorations — a record for any utility in the country,” said Ralph LaRossa, president and chief operating officer of PSE&G.  “Nearly half of our outages were caused by switching and substations that flooded due to the storm surge. Water ranging from 4 to 8 feet inundated our facilities — including some that had never been submerged in all their years of operation.”

Before Sandy, PSE&G began rewiring its system, adding 69-kV lines for added capacity and reliability.  That work continues.  The new lines are being installed on stronger poles with better lightning protection, and fiber optic wires that improve communication between substations.

Improving Infrastructure
The transmission improvements are only the beginning. During the next three years, PSE&G’s $1.22 billion Energy Strong program will help the utility significantly strengthen and protect its electric and gas systems against severe weather damage.

As part of the Energy Strong program, PSE&G will protect, raise or relocate 29 switching and substations; replace and modernize 250 miles of gas mains in or near flood areas; create redundancy in the system; protect five natural gas metering stations and a liquefied natural gas station affected by Sandy or located in flood zones; and deploy smart grid technologies to better monitor system operations.

Work is currently under way in 28 municipalities to replace low-pressure cast iron gas mains, with high-pressure plastic pipes. “The new pipes and higher pressure will keep the water out and customers in service when it floods,” said LaRossa. “We expect to complete 88 miles of this work by the end of the year. On the electric side, extensive planning, engineering and procurement are under way to begin work on our switching and substations early next year.”

Smart grid projects underway include installing advanced technologies in PSE&G substations to facilitate full remote monitoring and control; and contingency restoration work that adds smart switches and fuses, and multiple sections on circuits. These upgrades ensure that when there is an outage, service will be restored faster and the outage will affect fewer customers.

Changing Communications Channels
In addition to improving infrastructure, PSE&G has made significant changes to better communicate with customers before, during and after storms. “We’ve ramped up our messaging across all channels, including Twitter and Facebook,” LaRossa said. “Our goal is to help customers understand what to expect from an event, how they can prepare and stay safe, and how they can best communicate with PSE&G.”

New communication tools include MyAlerts, which allows customers to opt in for text messages, as well as email notifications about outages in their area and service restoration; and an enhanced Outage Map that provides customers with detailed information about power outages in their neighborhood and across PSE&G’s service territory. Customers can access these PSE&G communications tools in the company’s “Storm Center” at

More Training, Better Logistics
Internal communications, emergency training and logistics are critical to storm preparedness. Located at the company’s headquarters in Newark is its Delivery Emergency Response Center (DERC), which is activated to oversee multiple operations in the field when preparing for and responding to a major storm. People representing all functions across the company staff DERC 24/7 — getting the right people, to the right places, with the right equipment at the right time.

PSE&G conducts extensive storm outage planning, training and exercises throughout the year. So far this year, its employees have completed more than 1,700 emergency preparedness and response training sessions, logging nearly 4,000 hours of training. Training in safety and damage assessment equips PSE&G office employees to help in the field during emergencies.

Since Sandy, process improvement teams have studied more efficient ways to undertake restoration activities, and PSE&G has expanded its network of mutual aid from eight to 22 utilities. “The utility industry is somewhat unique in that we all help each other,” said LaRossa. “During Sandy, we brought in 4,500 contractors from 24 states and Canada to help restore service.”

To accommodate the massive influx of people and equipment during Sandy, PSE&G set up 12 staging areas across the state. Since then, the company has identified 22 staging areas and has specific site plans and role assignments for each of these “pop-up utility cities” where material and equipment is stored and trucks can be fueled.

“From 2010 to 2012, we experienced the four most destructive storms in our history. We learned a lot,” said LaRossa. “We hope to never see the likes of Sandy again, but feel confident that our infrastructure investments, comprehensive communications tools and emergency response training will ensure that our customers, employees and systems are better ready to weather severe storms in the future.”

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The Federal Highway Trust Fund Is Going Broke. Here’s Why That Could Be a Good Thing.

file photo Boyd Loving

The Federal Highway Trust Fund Is Going Broke. Here’s Why That Could Be a Good Thing.

Elizabeth Nolan Brown|July 14, 2014

This week President Obama is putting the hard sell on raising highway and transit aid, as the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) warns that it’s bound by early August to run out of sufficient money to meet state obligations. The White House says Obama will discuss the matter Tuesday in Virginia, where he’s expected to propose a “pro-growth business tax reform” solution. In Delaware on Thursday, he’ll announce an initiative to increase private-sector investment in transportation. 

About 27 percent of highway and transit spending currently comes from the federal government, via the HTF, while states kicking in about 38 percent and 35 percent coming from municipalities. The HTF isn’t set to “run dry” in August, as many are reporting, but it did tell states to expect an average 28 percent reduction in aid at that point unless Congress acts. The fund faces a $15 billion gap between projected spending and the money it will collect in 2015. 

House and Senate committees began addressing ways to shore up HTF funding last week, both in the short-term and the long-term. The existing two-year funding measure expires at this end of this September. Legislators are now looking at bills that would provide about $11 billion to the HTF through May 2015 and address long-term funding separately in the future. 

State governors still say Congress isn’t acting fast enough, and it’s hindering their ability to plan and build major highway and bridge projects. From Reuters: 

Republicans and Democrats who gathered in Nashville during the weekend for a National Governors Association (NGA) meeting said that at minimum Congress should approve a short-term fix before the federal highway account becomes insolvent by the end of August. Yet they want a longer solution to remove uncertainly that could stop or delay projects worth an estimated $3.6 trillion to fix crumbling roads and bridges.

The inability of Congress to agree increases pressure on states to find alternative financing for their share, governors said. It affects the work needed to create jobs and boost the economy while repairing outdated infrastructure to avoid disasters such as the 2007 Minneapolis bridge collapse that killed 13 people and injured 145.

According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the U.S. needs $3.6 trillion by 2020 to maintain highways, bridges, and other infrastructure. One way to raise some funds would be to raise fuel taxes, relied on heavily by states and the federal government to fund infrastructure projects—and untouched by Congress since 1993.

Yet there’s nothing stopping states from taking this matter into their own hands. Since 2013, seven states have raised fuel levies, reports Reuters, while Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is considering substituting sales tax and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is pushing public-private partnerships. Other governors at the NGA conference also said they were looking at alternative funding solutions. 

When left a little more to their own devices, it seems states get innovative. They develop localized solutions. They experiment.