Home > Policy watch, Politics > The Toll Plan is a Dinosaur

The Toll Plan is a Dinosaur

Governor Corzine and Economic Czar Gary Rose – being Wall Street guys and not government/policy guys – have put the finance cart before the policy horse.

That is ass backwards – the finance should follow the policy, not determine the policy.

Reliance on a toll revenue based financial plan would lock the State into a whole set of bad policies that promote more traffic and undermine critically important policies.

Why would we want to restructure our debt by relying on a revenue stream to pay debt service (i.e. tolls from traffic) for activity that we are legally obligated and seeking to reduce?

Under the federal Clean Air Act, New Jersey is legally obligated to reduce air pollution from mobile sources – i.e. cars and trucks. One means to do that is to reduce truck and car traffic and vehicle miles traveled.

Under State law, New Jersey is legally obligated to reduce green house gas emissions by 20% by 2020. Transportation accounts for 50% of NJ’s global warming emissions. One means to reduce emissions is to reduce truck and car traffic and vehicle miles driven.

Virtually all energy plans project sharply rising oil and gas prices, and encourage across the board reductions in gas consumption and truck/car travel.

Clean air, global warming, and energy policies all are seeking to reduce traffic, including traffic on toll roads.

Yet the toll plan is reliant on maintaining or even increasing traffic to generate toll revenue.
Clean Air, global warming, and energy policies directly contradict a traffic reliant toll plan.

Something’s gotta give.

There are additional reasons that a toll based revenue plan is a bad plan.

“Smart Growth” policies under NJ’s State Plan call for land use policies that promote trip reduction, mass transit, bicycling, and walking.

The State Plan seeks investments in urban redevelopment – more traffic and more cars divert investment and take activity away from the urban core.

Sound transporation planning seeks a shift from cars to mass transit, and from trucks to rail.

A toll based plan flies in the face of all these policies.

Do we really want to perpetuate car dependency for the next 30 years? (assume a 30 year bond repayment schedule)

Thought about all that Governor?

Long run, the plan is un-economic, bad policy, and bad for the environment – but great for

Wall Street bond counsel..

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  1. nohesitation
    January 18th, 2008 at 20:04 | #1

    Fine print warning:
    Maybe that the need for more cars and more tolls is why the “trip reduction” program provision was deleted from Section 8 of the global warming bill Cozine just signed (RGGI).
    Just maybe.
    Now on to Xanadu and Encap…..

  2. vbiqve
    January 18th, 2008 at 20:24 | #2

    WolfeMan…as always you are the voice of reason…I’m psyched that you have your own column and will follow it..Even when we don’t agree you are a breath of fresh air……your bud….miguel

  3. nohesitation
    January 18th, 2008 at 20:31 | #3

    Dear vbiqve
    What the heck does that stand for?
    Man, this toll scheme is the transfer station initiative (remember that?), PLUS the garbage incinerators, PLUS EZ pass, PLUS the Parsons car inspection scam, all mutliplied by TEN.
    Just think of the scam of hundreds of millions of dollars in private activity bond volume cap allocated to those damned garbage burners.
    The same damn bond counsel are drooling over this one.
    The grandmother of boondoggles!

  4. vbiqve
    January 18th, 2008 at 20:54 | #4

    VBIQVE is Latin….you’ve got to figure it out ….HINT (cfr) we’ve got to keep in touch,,,,, great hearing from you…I agree.with your assessment……this reminds me of funding Health care by cigarette taxes……. I never quite got that one either….mag

  5. betternj
    January 25th, 2008 at 15:20 | #5

    This Toll Plan is just one more extension of the favorite politician ploy that is bankrupting New Jersey: Seperate the cost and control of expenses with those who politically benefit from increased services!
    Towns want great and complete municipal services and schools? – just pass the cost onto the State!
    What? the state is going bankrupt and can’t afford endless Healthcare and millions of pensions? – just pass the cost onto the Toll Roads used by ‘foreigners’.
    What we need is GAAP accounting. Require a Municipality or school to pay the fully loaded cost of an employee! EASY. DONE. Then 60 years of retirement benefits will be paid for up-front by taxpayers, and $150 Billion in “Liaibilities” that require endless schemes, and painful debt will vanish. So will the really frivolous spending by municipalities and schools.
    From this point of view, its easy to see that if a muni or school does not bear the full cost of their decisions, they will make poor decisions. However, the legislature continues policies and programs that make them responsible for funding these decisions with little control over the level of spending. (See also Budget by Committee)
    As a side note – Notice Corzine did everything possible to “Protect the workers” before announcing “Nothing could be done” to reduce expenses.
    He should have laid off half of the state workers and cut school and muni funding.
    He has not offered ONE SINGLE CUT? And who considers him a financial wiz?

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