How to address the state’s transportation trust fund shortfalls
Tom Viviano, president of construction management consultant Capissam LLC, former chairman of the Southern New Jersey Development Council, and member of the council’s transportation committee, offers his thoughts on the transportation trust fund, which will run out of resources July 1.
1. SUPPORT FUNDING: Nobody wants to raise taxes, but everyone knows the trust fund is in trouble and needs to be fixed. The leadership of both parties in the governor’s office, the Senate and the [General] Assembly all need to deliver a bi-partisan message supporting funding.
2. RAISE THE MOTOR FUELS TAX: The legislature should raise the motor fuels tax, and let New Jersey residents know that over 40 percent of that tax is paid by non-residents just passing through. The motor fuels tax is actually a user fee. People who use the roads are asked to pay for their upkeep.
3. SEEK ALTERNATE SOURCES: The legislature, with input from the department of transportation, should seek additional methods of funding—in addition to the motor fuels tax—dedicated to the trust fund. This includes, for example, additional fees for tires, oil, registrations, overweight permits and any other fees that are related.
4. UTILIZE TOLL FEES: Develop legislation that creates a dedicated portion of tolls on the turnpike, parkway and Atlantic City Expressway. Again, a large percentage of the tolls on these roads are paid by out-of-state vehicles.
5. STAY CURRENT: Include inflation related increases in the legislation to keep all fees current.
Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 4, Issue 12 (December, 2014).
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