More Tolls Coming to NJ Roadways? [POLL/AUDIO]
A long-standing federal ban on interstate tolling could soon be lifted under a $302 billion transportation plan by the Obama administration.
The plan, which was sent to Congress in late April, opens the door for states, including New Jersey, to raise money through tolls for transportation projects. And while drivers are certainly not likely to support more tolls, state Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville), the chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee said the idea should be explored.
"I think all the ideas of raising sufficient revenue need to be on the table," Wisniewski said. "I'm not leaning toward it or against it. I think it's an idea that has to be examined."
The roads in New Jersey that could possibly see tolls added could be Routes 195, 295, 78, 80 and 287.
The state's Transportation Trust Fund is running out of money and lawmakers are looking for ways to replenish it to fix New Jersey's decaying roads and bridges.
"We need to make an informed decision about how we want to maintain our transportation infrastructure and how we want to pay for it," Wisniewski said. "Anybody who is suggesting that we can improve and maintain our transportation system without imposing an additional tax or toll or some fee on somebody is just not being honest."
Raising the gas tax is an idea that is often floated in Trenton to support road projects, and Wisniewski said it would probably be less expensive than adding tolls.
Tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway range from 2 cents a mile up to 7 cents a mile, while the gas tax is roughly one-half cent per mile according to Wisniewski.
"It seems to me that it (tolling) represents itself as much more expensive per mile used than using the existing motor fuels tax," Wisniewski said.