New Jersey’s interstate highways are among the most congested and deteriorated in the nation according to a report released at the end of June by a Washington-based group that studies transportation. The TRIP report said 73 percent of New Jersey’s urban interstates are congested during peak travel times, the third highest rate in the nation, carrying 14,000 vehicles per lane mile each day, the ninth highest rate of travel in the U.S. The group also rated the highways the eighth most deteriorated in the nation, with 19 percent of pavement in poor or mediocre condition.
The report blamed large trucks and lack of funding for repairs and improvements for the poor condition of the roads, and predicted the highway system would soon need costly repairs.
“The deteriorated and congested conditions on New Jersey’s Interstates keep businesses from operating efficiently and rob drivers of time and money as they sit in traffic,” said Philip K. Beachem, president of the New Jersey Alliance for Action, a group that advocates for infrastructure improvement. “Without a sustainable, long-term funding source at the state and federal levels, our transportation system will become increasingly congested and deteriorated, businesses will lose their competitive edge and quality of life will suffer.”
As of press time, New Jersey lawmakers were debating a 23-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase to fund road repairs. The measure, which was coupled with cuts in the sales tax and the estate tax, and tax cuts for low income earners, passed the assembly and was backed by Gov. Chris Christie, but has not yet been taken up by the senate.