Gas tax went up — Are NJ’s roads and bridges any better off?
At the end of 2016, the gas tax in New Jersey was raised 27 cents a gallon to replenish the nearly bankrupt Transportation Trust Fund and pay for much-needed road and bridge projects.
More than two years later, a lot of Garden State drivers don’t believe things have gotten any better on the roads.
Krista Jenkins, director of the Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll, says a new survey conducted in partnership with the Union of Operating Engineers Local 825 finds “not many people believe the quality of our roads, bridges and tunnels and also their safety is actually improving.”
More than a third of residents believe the quality of infrastructure is getting worse. A third also believe safety of roads, bridges and tunnels are worsening.
The survey also finds “only 15% or thereabouts believe that things are actually improving as a consequence of the added money that is being given to the state for fixing these things.”
About half of those surveyed say road quality and safety remains the same in New Jersey.
“We also find that 38% have actually had something done to their car as a consequence of a pothole or some other road imperfection that actually required them to spend money to have it repaired," she said.
The poll also asked drivers if the state was doing enough to maintain roads, bridges and tunnels. Two thirds don't think so.
While almost 70% of residents believe infrastructure is very important to the New Jersey economy, Jenkins said most do not favor raising additional funds for transportation.
“We find that 83% say the state simply needs to do better with what it has, rather than collect more money," she said.
She said the poll also finds that a third of New Jerseyans do not have confidence in state leaders to use funds wisely that have been collected for transportation.