Jamie Fox’s inane op-ed illustrates why we went broke in the first place

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

The logic behind a guy seeking the GOP nomination for president appointing a former Torricelli/McGreevey bureaucrat to a critical cabinet post still eludes me, Save Jerseyans.

But here we are. We’re saddled with Jamie Fox now. And this is how he’s spending his time: advocating for a punishing increase in the one tax in New Jersey that isn’t suckily high (the gas tax) and, this past Sunday, penning a guest op-ed in the Star-Ledger claiming that New Jersey’s per-mile road maintenance isn’t nearly as expensive as claimed by gas tax hike opponents.

For starters, he complains that the study treats multiple lane highways like single-lane ones. Moreover, “New Jersey gives out nearly $330 million a year in local transportation aid to counties and municipalities. This helps local government take care of local roads without having to raise property taxes,” Commissioner Fox explains. “The Reason Foundation counts the spending we give to local government but doesn’t count all the miles of local roads that are repaired or built. Therefore, states with greater jurisdiction over local infrastructure fare better in the analysis as those centerline miles are credited to the state.”

You can find a copy of the eye-opening study here.

My #1 problem with Fox’s logic? Divide the number by the actual average number of lanes and New Jersey’s road costs are STILL the highest in the nation. By a mile. Many times over.

jamie foxThe Commish is apparently fond of analogies, using six-packs of soda to make his point. Here’s one of my own: in his op-ed, Fox is kindof like an oncologist telling his patient to disregard cancer doctor #1’s opinion because that doctor relied upon a different baseline to measure the tumor. Granted, neither doctor disagrees that it’s stage 4, serious, imminent and deadly. The only substantive disagreement? Courses of treatment.

Here, unbelievably, Fox wants to hand the proverbial lung cancer patient (Trenton) a fresh pack of cigarettes (more revenue). Without telling us the “real” cost, by the way, you should’ve noticed! Save Jersey & friends? We’re going cold turkey and addressing causations, not symptoms. Here are just 10 things we should try first before raising the gas tax, solutions which we outlined with our friends at AFP-NJ last week. Even Scott Garrett, at the federal level, is trying to innovate.

An unsolicited second opinion for Commissioner Fox and his allies: instead of toiling to provide free content for a dying newspaper, put your lavish $141,000 salary to work for the taxpayers, fighting to end the prevailing wage and cutting EVERY shred of waste, redundancy, and inefficiency out of the budget before begging the nation’s most put-upon taxpayers for another red cent. Assemblymen Carroll and O’Scanlon introduced a bill in December that would address the prevailing wage problem.

Anything short of confronting it head on is public sector malpractice of the highest degree.

But don’t hold your breath waiting for that, Save Jerseyans. Much like legislative gas tax hiker-in-chief John Wisniewski, Fox has a long history in Trenton being a part of the problem. These guys, either through commission or omission, OVERSAW the decline of our state transportation system. And they’re still in denial; control-F search for “prevailing wage” in Commissioner Fox’s op-ed and you’ll come up empty.

No new solutions. No fresh thinking. Not even a feigned attempt at reform. I could almost stand something like a gas tax hike if ANY real institutional change driving the costs of road maintenance was on table. It’s not.

This is just another nakedly lazy and patently offensive raid on you and me, the taxpayers (who are still not en route to North Carolina), one more time (for the millionth time), seeking another quick fix while the Trenton elite cash in.

I, for one, ain’t buying into it anymore. Trenton is spending $32.5 billion of our money this fiscal year but they can’t fund roads OR pensions? Where is it going? You’re welcome to join me in demanding an answer, New Jersey, either in opposing these clowns or developing some sort of gated former N.J. resident refugee community in Montana (unless they ban yoga pants, then I’m out). A time for choosing…


Matt Rooney
About Matt Rooney 8156 Articles
MATT ROONEY is SaveJersey.com's founder and editor-in-chief, a practicing New Jersey attorney, and the host of 'The Matt Rooney Show' on 1210 WPHT every Sunday evening from 7-10PM EST.


  1. Even if it is less than the estimated rate per mile, New Jersey still leads the rest of the nation in highest costs per mile. What is his plan to bring us in line with the rest of the country? If the costs are flawed does the commissioner of the Department of Transportation plan on ‘un-flawing’ the value per mile by bringing the price tag up to $2 million?

  2. Thanks for your commentary. The more we learn about the corruption in OUR(sic) state government the more I agree with the gated colony. We the People of New Jersey have to engage the politicos or else. How much further into semantics do we travel before we realize that the so-called elected have an answer. It appears that they only line their pockets with our hard earned tax receipts. WAKE UP NEW JERSEY!

  3. Enough concrete walls lining the highways. Enough lines painted for bike riders, for scores of years bike riders knew instinctively where the side of the road was. What other non driving projects does the dept. include than bike paths, foot paths, trails, cameras reading license plates all over that are not the red light camera hazardous waste. What department is paying for all the useless mini solar panels lining our roads? Anyone check their outrageous prices and short life expectancies lately? Change the law from using only union comparable wages and use the free market system allowing local companies bid on sections of the road.

  4. Even if we assume every thing the Transportation Secretary say is accurate we are still paying much more for to build the equal length of road in New Jersey than in other places, namely all forty-nine other states. It is time for reform so tax money meant to build and fix roads and bridges actually is used efficiently for that purpose. If that were to occur the need to raise the gas tax would vanish. The first reforms in this regard would be the repeal of the Prevailing Wage in Public Construction Law in Trenton and the Repeal of the Davis Bacon act in Washington DC. Having limits on the expensive environmental impact statements that hinder building good transport networks and do little or nothing to protect the environment would help as well. Also the biding process that is suppose keep corruption out of the process of road building does not do so. It only makes roads cost more and needs reform. We need to build roads in a smarter way not a more expensive ways and a raise in the gas tax would only reward inefficiency in government.

  5. Absolutely. The more you give them, the more they waste. They need to go back to elementary school and learn to handle their allowances. Make the tough decisions because “Daddy” is not giving you any more.

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