Could NJ’s ‘Pothole Tax’ Soon be a Thing of the Past?
The start of New Jersey’s pothole season, when the weather starts to warm up and Department of Transportation teams fan out to begin filling thousands of potholes on our roadways, is right around the corner.
But soon, according to U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J. 5th District, the pothole problem will begin to be addressed in a more permanent and substantial way that’s expected to save Garden State drivers hundreds of dollars every year.
“We’ve got in New Jersey the third-worst roads in the entire country, which is insane, and we all know that when it comes to commute times, getting to work, getting home to see your kids at night,” he said.
According to a recent study, only Rhode Island and California have worse roads than New Jersey.
The 'pothole tax'
He said having such horrible highways results in a sort of unofficial pothole tax that costs drivers in New Jersey an average of $713 a year in damage.
Gottheimer said the good news is “the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which we passed out of Congress and got signed at the end of the year, is going to send resources, dollars to Jersey to help fix our roads.”
He said the exact amount of funding heading to the Garden State isn’t clear yet “but we know it will be billions of dollars that are set to come to New Jersey overall, for our roads, our bridges, our tunnels.”
Why are Jersey roads so terrible?
He noted Jersey roads are in terrible shape for multiple reasons, including the fact that “we built these roads long before they had many roads in other parts of the country, so our infrastructure is older, but we also have to deal with conditions like the snow we just got.”
He pointed out road salt degrades road surfaces, and freeze-thaw cycles can create potholes that can grow.
Gottheimer stressed a major infusion of money is needed to improve Jersey’s highways and byways.
“If we put the resources towards them, and not just Band-Aids, not just fill in a pothole, but actually long term fixing these roads, we can really save people a lot of money on their cars, their time, productivity,” he said.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com.