Brand new N.J. highway cost study shouldn’t cheer you up

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

The Trenton bureaucracy and its allies are celebrating a new study out this week (sponsored by NJ DOT and taxpayer-financed Rutgers University) which pegs the cost of maintaining New Jersey’s roads at approximately $187,000 per mile, significantly less than the Reason Foundation’s oft-cited $2 million per mile figure, Save Jerseyans.

Forgive me for holding my applause!

Parkway congestion trafficThe biggest reason for the difference? Rutgers and the state aren’t counting debt which, for most ordinary working stiffs like you and me, is an inescapable aspect of our respective financial realities. I can’t tell a mortgage rep “just ignore those student loans!” when going through the pre-qualification process, can I?

But let’s assume $187k is a fair number.

That still makes New Jersey one of the nation’s most expensive transportation states by – pardon the pun – a mile. Our neighbor Pennsylvania and the similarly densely populated state of Rhode Island both spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 less per mile than we do back home in the Garden State. Their roads are more than 50% cheaper per mile.

I’m going to keep saying it: until the Reason study’s detractors are willing to get serious and talk about a solution that involves MORE than “new revenues” (read: gas tax hike), including measures to make roads cheaper by addressing the prevailing wage, then there’s nothing to talk about. Only serious people are worthy of serious consideration!

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