Despite the fact that:
- NJ’s gas tax is one of the lowest in the nation,
- Has not been raised since 1989, and
- Gas is cheaper than it’s been in years,
there is a lot of resistance to the idea of raising the gas tax to fix our crumbling roads and bridges. The most common complaint that we here is, “but my property taxes are already the highest in the country!” We get that because we live here too, but refusing to raise the gas tax because of high property taxes is kind of like cutting off your nose to spite your face. The fact is, bad road conditions lead to extra wear and tear on our cars, time lost in traffic, and gas wasted while idling. Not only that, but it may lead to higher property taxes.
What is the price of inaction, of saying no to funding the Transportation Trust Fund, of letting our roads and bridges continue to deteriorate? It’s more expensive than you think:
“The U.S. Department of Transportation says 66 percent of New Jersey roads are in poor to mediocre condition and that costs drivers an average of $601 a year in repair bills.
‘The data show that over the years, instead of finding a real solution, Congress has decided to send the bill directly to drivers, essentially as a hidden tax,’ Lemmon said. ‘New Jersey drivers are getting a double-whammy—road funding is being shortchanged by both their federal and state governments.’”
- New Jerseyans waste more than a full work-week, or 52 hours per year, stuck in traffic.
- The average annual cost of congestion for New Jersey is $1,465 per licensed driver.
- The cost of congestion in New Jersey has increased to up to $8.6 billion.
- New Jersey has the third longest commute time in the nation.
- In terms of economic competitiveness New Jersey ranks 43rd in the nation largely due to its average 'travel time to work.'
- By 2015, total traffic will grow by 18 percent more vehicle miles traveled on New Jersey's highways and freeways.
- New Jerseyans waste about $345 million annually in fuel due to traffic.
“New Jersey’s bad roads and bridges are costing individual drivers almost $2,000, contribute to higher numbers of fatal crashes on rural roads and cost consumers more money at stores.
The report doesn’t stop at the $1,951 in added costs per driver, based on 2012 numbers. It blamed bad roads and bridges for costing a total of $11.8 billion in additional costs for driver to operate their vehicles. It found that in 2013, 35 percent of the state’s major roads are in poor condition, 41 percent are rated in “mediocre” conditions and 24 percent are ranked good.”
Please think twice before insisting that we keep the gas tax at the same level it has been since 1989. Because at the end of the day we are only hurting ourselves.
ELEC supports a fully funded Transportation Trust Fund that is DEDICATED to capital improvements.