Written by Mark J. Magyar/NJ Spotlight
New Jerseyans pay more for unnecessary repairs caused by driving on poor or mediocre roads than residents of any other state. One out of every three bridges is decrepit or obsolete. Trains into Manhattan are jammed to capacity, with construction of a new rail tunnel at least a decade away.
Meanwhile, the Christie administration has borrowed so heavily that the Transportation Trust Fund that pays for highways, bridges, and mass-transit projects is going to run out of money a year early. And Gov. Chris Christie has called for the breakup of the Port Authority, the bistate agency set up to fund large-scale projects in the busiest transportation hub in the world.
“We certainly cannot renew the Transportation Trust Fund without a revenue source,” said Assembly Transportation Committee Chairman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex). “But I’m not sure that the public is prepared for the sticker shock of what it’s going to cost to fix our transportation system.”
While Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) has introduced legislation raising New Jersey’s gas tax, which is the second-lowest in the nation, by nine cents a gallon over three years, New Jersey Policy Perspective yesterday slapped a realistic sticker price on New Jersey’s transportation crisis: The liberal think tank suggested a plan to raise $1.25 billion a year by hiking the tax on a gallon of gas from 14.5 cents to 39 cents a gallon -- which would still be lower than New York, Pennsylvania, and six other large urban states.