Hamilton, NJ — New Jerseys are facing longer commutes, worsening road conditions and mounting car repair bills. Paying more into the system isn’t their first choice, but with the proper safeguards, motorists are willing to pay more at the pump to see improvements in their roadways.
The dire situation facing the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) is not unknown to motorists. AAA’s biannual survey of motorists found both their commutes and their opinions of road conditions has gotten worse over the last two years. Residents are more aware than even of the TTF’s main funding mechanism, the gas tax. Fifty-nine percent of respondents were aware that New Jersey has one of the lowest gas taxes in the nation, a 12-point increase over the last 10 years. But with that awareness is a nearly matched skepticism that the money will get to the right place. A majority (57 percent) did not believe all the money from the gas tax is dedicated to the Transportation Trust Fund.
When asked how to best pay for new investment in our infrastructure, respondents list raising additional taxes as their least popular choice. When provided with more information, 63 percent of respondents are willing to pay for an increase to the gas tax, if the proper safeguards are in place.
“Every day, New Jersey motorists pay the price for our failure to invest in the state’s transportation infrastructure,” said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “From longer commutes, to an additional $600 a year in repair costs, New Jersey’s motorists are paying more and getting less.”
“Motorists understand that paying more at the pump will give them safer roads, shorter commutes and lower maintenance costs,” continued Noble.
Part of those proper safeguards is making sure that all gas tax revenue gets to the Transportation Trust Fund. Respondents overwhelmingly (71 percent) support a constitutional amendment to dedicate all revenues to the TTF.
“The largest obstacle to support for raising the gas tax is the lack of faith that the money will get to the right place,” Noble added. “It’s clear that the constitutional amendment is an effective tool to not only dedicate TTF monies, but to restoring the public’s trust on this issue.”