Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's deputy web editor.E-mail: email@example.com
There will always be construction, and unless changes are made, the industry's diesel-run vehicles and equipment will always pollute the air and harm those who breath it. In particular, people living near and working on construction sites are more susceptible to cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, such as cancer, asthma and premature death. But New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is taking the first step to solving the problem: He's mandated the creation of a pilot project to retrofit 175 pieces of diesel-run construction equipment by 2014, according to Gov Monitor. He's also mandated that non-road diesel construction equipment of more than 100 horsepower (such as bulldozers, graders and pavers) used in state-financed construction projects meet more stringent standards or be retrofitted with devices to achieve at least an 85 percent reduction in particulate matter emissions. With $2.5 million from state and federal grants, New Jersey's environmental protection and transportation departments will head the establishment and execution of the program. At the moment, there are more on-road construction vehicles than non-road construction equipment. However, non-road equipment emits twice as many toxins into the air due to more lenient standards.