The views and opinions written in this article are those of the author and do not represent WMSC or Montclair State University.
It all started with governor Chris Christie. Due to New Jersey’s deficit and new light rail projects in southern New Jersey Chris Christie proposed a gas tax which passed even being approved by some republicans such as Jon Bramnick and Declan O’Scanlon. Governor Murphy then announced that he will increase the gas tax by another 9 cents a gallon going from 41.4 cents a gallon to 50.7 cents a gallon in part due to the increased deficit during COVID. The main reason however that New Jersey had to enact a 23 cent increase in the gas tax was because of the lack of funding to the transportation trust fund. The transportation trust fund is an agency of the NJ government that finances and plans infrastructure projects in New Jersey. Despite governor Murphys increased funding to infrastructure projects and the increase in the gas tax to make up for the budget deficit in part due to the transportation trust fund budget New Jersey state infrastructure still receives a D+ ranking. The reason why infrastructure in New Jersey receives a D+ rating is because the government is currently involved in the infrastructure projects. The solution is that we should dissolve the Transportation trust fund and other government run infrastructure agencies such as the NJ state highway authority and we should sell the contracts to private entities because the private sector perform everything more efficiently than the government and thus we can eliminate the gas tax because we will no longer have to invest yearly in the Transportation trust fund and other infrastructure projects. New Jersey spends 7 billion dollars per year on transit and other infrastructure projects thus we can save billions by selling the contract to a private entity. An example of how the private sector does infrastructure better than the government is in the mid 90s when Bret Schundler became mayor of Jersey City the water pipes were decrepit like they are in Newark now to the point where the water tasted weird and the water was discolored. The public workers told the mayor that the water pipes could not be fixed. The mayor decided to sell the water utility contract to a private entity and within months the private company fixed the water pipes that the public sector water utility employees could not. If we were to dissolve these government run infrastructure agencies and allow the private sector to fix our crumbling infrastructure we can completely repeal the gas tax and have better quality roads and bridges in New Jersey.
Article By Thomas Tarter
Photo by Seth Wenig, Associative Press