For immediate release: September 4, 2008
Tri-State Transportation Campaign Statement on New Jersey's Plan to Fund Transportation
The Tri-State Transportation Campaign applauds the New Jersey Turnpike Authority’s proposal to fund the Access to the Region’s Core project and keep transit fares low by increasing tolls on the NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway, but believes the plan ultimately falls short by including $3.3 billion for wasteful expansions of these two roads.
“This plan recognizes that Access to the Region’s Core is essential to New Jersey’s economic vitality and will help reduce traffic congestion throughout the state,” said Kate Slevin, Executive Director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a regional policy watchdog organization. “But chaining it to wasteful, old-fashioned, and poorly planned road projects is the wrong move.”
The Turnpike Authority has not made the case that the Turnpike or the Parkway widening projects are needed. As currently designed, neither will provide long-term congestion relief. In fact, according to state data, parts of the new lane on the Parkway will be filled with traffic as soon as construction is complete. Alternatives like congestion pricing and cashless tolling have not been examined in the environmental documents, though they could provide long-term traffic relief at a fraction of the cost of highway expansion.
“Decades of road widening have shown that highway expansion doesn’t ease traffic congestion in the long run. New Jersey needs projects that look to the future, not the past,” said Slevin.
Alternatively, the Campaign recommended a smaller toll increase to pay for necessary road maintenance and bridge repair and ensure that the ARC tunnel remains on track.
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The Tri-State Transportation Campaign is a non-profit policy watchdog organization dedicated to forging a more balanced, environmentally sustainable, safe and socially equitable transportation system in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.