Spiral of Debt - This 2010 Regional Plan Association report, released in cooperation with Tri-State and NJ Future, details revenue sources and expenditures, and shows how the nearly $900 million in tax revenues raised for the fund every year will, by 2011, be dedicated entirely to paying off old debt.
Monmouth Univ. Poll on Trust Fund - Over 70% of NJ residents are concerned about the impending bankruptcy of Transportation Trust Fund, according to a Monmouth University poll commissioned by TSTC and NJ Future. Residents are evenly split on whether the state should increase transportation fees like the gas tax and tolls in order to address the crisis.
Over-reliance on borrowing and band-aid solutions mean New Jersey’s main source of transportation funding, the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF), will be broke by July of 2011. At that time, 100 percent of the fund's revenues will be used for debt payments. There won’t be a cent left to fix roads and bridges or improve the public transportation system at a time when transit ridership has been increasing, roads and bridges are ranked among the worst in the nation and pedestrian fatalities remain tragically high.
Politicians have consistently used stopgap measures to replenish the fund, which have kept it afloat at the cost of its long-term viability. Without a change in financial policies and project priorities, the state’s roads and bridges will continue to deteriorate, NJ Transit will be unable to provide adequate and reliable service and New Jersey will find itself in crisis every five years.
The TTF has never been allowed to get so close to the brink of bankruptcy. This is an unprecedented low for the fund that requires an unprecedented solution. In order to save New Jersey’s transportation future, the legislation that reauthorizes the TTF must:
To ensure that these policy recommendations are included in the final legislation, Tri-State Transportation Campaign is working in coalition with New Jersey Future and a broad coalition of transportation, environmental, smart-growth, business and industry organizations working toward a sustainable reauthorization of the TTF.
Over the next 12 months, our legislators and Governor will have the opportunity to fix New Jersey's broken transportation funding system. If the Governor and legislature want to do the right thing for New Jerseyans' wallets and commutes, they must put away the credit card and find the revenue to keep NJ moving.
(Graph: RPA's Spiral of Debt report)