When Chris Christie signed off on a faustian bargain to raise New Jersey’s historically low gas tax back in October 2013, we were promised that it would be a turning point for the state’s neglected infrastructure.
“Through this legislation, we are continuing our commitment to providing tax relief for working New Jerseyans of all income levels, senior citizens, military veterans and property owners, while ensuring solid, reliable, state-of-the-art roads, bridges and mass transit systems,” then-Governor Christie explained in a statement. The initial 23-cent jump – and subsequent increased tied to the CPI – was supposed to make the Transportation Trust Fund flush with cash and, in so doing, guarantee that fixing roads and bridges would never be a concern again.
It’s a promise that never came to be, Save Jerseyans.
According to an analysis published Monday by the website Construction Coverage, Garden State roads are America’s 2nd worst behind only Rhode Island:
Share of major roadways in poor condition: 36.4%
Share of major roadways in fair condition: 31.1%
Share of major roadways in good condition: 32.5%
Daily vehicle-miles traveled per capita: 20.5
That’s right… more than 1 in 3 New Jersey roads are in “poor” condition a full 7 years after we were told the problem was well in hand. What happened?
Garden State Initiative, a right-leaning think tank, released a compelling list of proposals back in 2019 to bring down costs, consolidate agencies, and improve the project prioritization process.
The truth of the matter: we could (and have) identified a myriad of problems with the way Trenton does business, but the macro problem is – pardon my French – fucked priorities. Governor Christie got distracted by Bridgegate and a presidential campaign. Governor Murphy also a presidential ambitions, and to realize them he devotes his energy to wind turbines, transgender school lessons, re-codifying abortion, and a zillion other things which have nothing to do with core government responsibilities like make sure you don’t need multiple car realignments annually for having to utilize our state’s highways and byways.
Better, focused, and creative leadership is what’s needed.
Until we find it? Be sure to keep a jack and spare tire with you at all times.