By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog
Isn’t it the worst when someone calls you out on your crap? And then can back it up with facts? A rare feat in American politics…
We’re still closely tracking the gas tax debate, Save Jerseyans, even though it didn’t figure heavily in this week’s FY2016 budget debate. Recently, I picked to pieces an op-ed from NJ DOT Commish Jamie Fox – a former operative for the Torch – wherein he disputed a Reason Foundation study pegging the cost of maintaining New Jersey roads at $2 million per mile…
…without providing the real figure. And while admitting that our roads are, in fact, America’s most expensive.
He was trying (I guess) to argue that the cost of our roads isn’t the reason why the so-called Transportation Trust Fund is running low; he’s anxiously contorting himself to justify new revenues (code: taxing your pants off), all while his boss Governor Christie seems to be taking a page from Sen. Mike Doherty by calling for everyone to relax. Weird, right? I have my theories.
Well, here’s the latest: the Reason Foundation struck back this week to defend its study. And it’s a must-read.
“Commissioner Fox made a number of patently false claims about the Reason Foundation Annual Highway Report and the motivation is obvious to anyone: his goal is to impose a massive gas tax hike on motorists and to do the bidding of the special interests who feed at the TTF trough,” asserted AFP-NJ state director Daryn Iwicki in support of Reason’s exceptional retort.
In a detailed response, the study’s co-authors hit on each and every key element of Fox’s op-ed. Example #1? Fox claimed he didn’t have the “benefit of the numbers” cited in Reason’s report when, in fact, those numbers are generated by the state of New Jersey and reported to the feds. Fox also incorrectly accused Reason of taking into account costs for roads outside New Jersey’s jurisdiction, as well as excluding lane miles from its calculus, when the study clearly, in plain language, contradicts both claims with plain language refutations.
“Frankly, it’s hard to believe these were innocent mistakes on the part of someone who is now leading the Department of Transportation for the second time,” added Iwicki. “Commissioner Fox and others who want a gas tax hike are indeed just making excuses when it comes to our outrageous road costs.”
Fox can’t back up his position, Save Jerseyans. Reason can. You don’t need a comprehensive study or a degree in public planning to see that.
Act accordingly, legislators! Especially those of you on the GOP side. Campaign season is upon us; caving to a gas tax hike without demanding MAJOR changes to the cost-drivers here (like our state’s insane labor laws) isn’t just a dereliction of duty, but it’s also politically stupid given the clear value of an anti-gas tax hike statewide strategy.
One more must-read: our friend and TV host Bill Spadea’s guest Save Jersey op-ed calling for a gas tax decrease. Don’t laugh! Check it out here. Then go forth determined to challenge every bad liberal premise rather than let it drag you to the bottom of the abyss. It’s the only way back.