LETTER: Legislatures with innovative ideas are needed in New Jersey
To The Editor:
The presumptions in the article, "Representatives must vote to raise gas tax," seemed a bit far-fetched to me.
I’ve lived in eight different states around the country. Even though Jersey is geographically the smallest, but most densely populated of all those states, I have never seen a state that searches so meticulously for ways to squeeze every penny possible from its residents’ pockets. With sky-high property taxes, the price and number of road tolls, fees for residents to visit their own beaches and the overall higher cost of living, I don’t see what could be so vital that Jersey “legislators should act with bravery, and vote for a tax despite its political implications.”
In order to keep the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) afloat, which I'm admittedly skeptical is as dire as you stated, why not require a percentage of New Jersey road tolls be allocated to it? There are other ways to solve the problem than to give the impoverished even more burdens. If you increase gas tax, which you accurately surmised would facilitate fewer drivers on Jersey roads, are all of these people supposed to purchase transit passes, which possibly targets the poor? Jersey transportation is not cheap, especially if there are multiple family members requiring passes. The state’s public transportation does not provide effective or efficient travel to all towns or townships and areas around the state. With the lack of a living wage, the increase in gas tax could eventually lead to a decrease in the cost-effectiveness of traveling to work. I won’t go further into that, but I think you get where I’m going.
A solution must be found that does not discriminate against people who already have the deck stacked against them. I don't see that many overall improvements in the state’s road construction and beautification efforts, despite the large budget dedicated to roads and transportation. With all the money the state receives from its residents, it leads one to ponder on where all these funds are going? Is it a misappropriation of funds? With the governor who appoints the five public members to the TTF Authority, I have some ideas. What is clear is that if “the options on the table aren’t especially appealing,” we need more innovative legislators who can think of solutions with less detrimental impacts on its disadvantaged population.
Lacey Peterson is a School of Social Work second-year graduate student.
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