Our elected officials do not see the need to raise funds to maintain New Jersey’s transportation system. For many years, most officials have been fearful to change any funding. The New Jersey’s gas tax is preponderantly used to pay bonds. A “pay as you go and pay as you grow” system of financing is needed.

People complain about the poor condition of roads, lack of transportation choices and transit routes because elected officials feel NJ must not change one of the lowest State gas taxes in the country. Only Alaska is lower.

People feel that out-of-pocket expenses due to flat tires and other mechanical breakdowns may be reduced with better State planning and paying a little more at the pump. This would better fund transportation needs for public safety and economic growth. Many accidents and near misses are attributable to potholes, poor street lighting, flooding, and poor access management. The spending of the dedicated increase at the pump must be fully transparent with accounting that shows the Federal, State, local and private shares for projects. 

A reasonable 10 cent a gallon increase in the New Jersey gas tax keeps the new rate (24.5 cents). It will remain lower than Pennsylvania at 41.8 cents, and New York at 49.86 cents. A substantial amount of NJ gas tax revenue will still come from out-of-state visitors that “fill-up” before leaving New Jersey because of the price advantage.

The US Department of Energy says that oil prices will remain stable level for the next five years. Meanwhile, New Jersey leaders need to do something to address the revenues just going to pay off bonds. The NJ transportation system needs more State funding to maintain a complete and safe transportation network that serves well-planned communities that use forward thinking regional land use planning

John Jennings, AICP

Freehold, NJ