His marching orders include shifting DOT’s emphasis to economic development, and Secretary Tata says the directive comes straight from the Governor’s office: “And he’s really said, ‘Tony, I really want you to focus everything that you do on job creation.’”
Each potential DOT project is assigned a value based on its ability to reduce congestion, improve safety, and meet other criteria. That value determines where the project fits into a strategic prioritization plan. And there is an economic component to it, says Tata. But up to now, it’s only carried 10 percent of the weight. Tata calls that “tepid”.
“And I said let’s take a look at dialing that up some – see what that does and correlate job creation to it. How many direct jobs does the project create? And how many secondary jobs does the project create or maintain? Because there are some areas if you don’t improve the infrastructure, you’re going to businesses are going to dry up, because people are going to find better ways to get to other places.”
The strategy is part of a 25-year infrastructure plan that targets roads, rails, waterways, and energy.