Garden State Initiative released a report Wednesday identifying $2 billion in savings that can be reinvested for tangible improvements to New Jersey roads and bridges.
New Jersey has among the most expensive road and bridge networks in the country, GSI said, and according to many ways of calculating it, the most expensive.
In 2016, $16 billion of transportation spending was authorized to fund New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund for eight years through the 23-cent increase in the state’s gas tax. In 2018, Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration increased the gas tax another 4.3 cents to ensure that funding source remained stable, according to the Garden State Initiative.
New Jersey is an outlier, outspending our peer states by significant margins, while our infrastructure is not perceptively improving.
– Regina Egea, president, Garden State Initiative
“New Jersey residents are paying more than ever in taxes to maintain and modernize our network of roads and bridges,” GSI President Regina Egea said in a statement. “The public is rightfully demanding an accounting of how their money is being spent and deserve a better return on their investment. New Jersey is an outlier, outspending our peer states by significant margins, while our infrastructure is not perceptively improving. This report demonstrates how transportation funds can be put to work more efficiently and, as a consequence, then pay down Transportation Trust Fund’s debt more quickly, improve our infrastructure and ultimately reduce our tax burden.”
In the report, GSI identifies three cost savings recommendations for the state: de-layering and consolidation of services; private public partnerships; and modernizing project planning, budgeting and scoring.
According to a recent Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll, one-third of New Jersey adults say the quality and safety of New Jersey’s roads, bridges and tunnels is worsening. And when it comes to how to pay for road, bridge and tunnel improvements, few say the state needs to raise more money. Instead, 83 percent believe legislators should do a better job spending what they already have.
The Garden State Initiative’s mission is to strengthen New Jersey by providing an alternative voice and common sense policy solutions in the state — solutions that promote new investment, the growth of jobs, the creation of economic opportunities, and innovation to the benefit of all New Jerseyans.