Call to Action- New Jersey Needs to Fix Our Traffic Problem
November 8th, 2019
Traffic – we have all been in it and have been frustrated by it. Whether we are heading to work, visiting friends and family or simply running an errand, traffic is an unfortunate reality in New Jersey. For the most part, we all endure it and accept it as part of our daily lives. But when is enough, enough? Make no mistake about it, traffic is continuing to get worse.
When are New Jersey residents and businesses going to demand more from our lawmakers in Trenton? We have a master plan for energy – why not a statewide master plan for transportation? Much of the attention has been on New Jersey’s mass transit, and rightfully so, but we cannot ignore our roads and vehicle traffic. It’s time our lawmakers remember those of us who travel the state daily in our cars.
New Jersey has nearly 4 million registered cars and when you add commercial vehicles, that number reaches more than 6.6 million. Most of New Jersey’s roads are maintained by local municipalities and counties and most of these roads are one or two lanes at best. Our system of roads – the infrastructure for our vehicular traffic – simply cannot sustain the volume of traffic.
Traffic and congestion on our roads are not only a quality of life issue – it is also an economic issue facing the Garden State. We are on our roads more than ever, especially when you factor in the flex economy with more people working remotely. New Jersey’s success or failure economically depends on how efficiently we can deliver both goods and services and how we get employees to their workplace.
In 2016, lawmakers hiked the gas tax and voters then locked in that revenue to be used for transportation infrastructure projects. With nearly $2 billion collected through this tax and another $1.5 billion collected on the NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway, that means $3.5 billion that can be spent on our roads.
It is time that Trenton makes the millions of people who travel by car daily a priority. Stakeholders need to come together to determine logical solutions to New Jersey’s traffic nightmare. This problem won’t be solved by government alone – it will also take businesses, residents and professionals from across the state. It is time for us to be heard and get New Jersey moving again.
Anthony Russo is president of the Commerce & Industry Association of New Jersey.