Princeton is facing a bill of around $1 million for emergency road repairs after snow plows cut up roads this winter, leaving drivers facing a course of potholes. Meanwhile, a resurfacing project getting underway on Route 206 in Princeton is going to cost another $1.1 million. That means that $2.2 million of taxpayer money will be spent on two road maintenance projects alone. If that seems like a lot, remember this: New Jersey roads are the most expensive in the nation to maintain.
A report released last year details the cost of road maintenance in all 50 states. And New Jersey worked out to be the most expensive in the entire USA. As the report explains:
New Jersey, with 3,333 miles of state highways, spends 8.4 times more than the national per-mile average. It spends more than any other state per-mile of highway, spends more than any other state on maintenance per mile, and more than any other state on capital and bridges per mile.
It’s not surprising that road projects are costly, when New Jersey spends 8.4 times the national average! New York is an expensive state for road maintenance too, but they are ‘just’ 2.6 times the national average. And despite having the highest cost to maintain roads, New Jersey has the third-lowest gas tax! It’s no wonder that there’s no money for transit investment when what little money there is goes to road crews. And it’s one more reason to promote alternative transportation, because walking (and cycling) puts less strain on roads and requires vastly less pavement to transport the same number of people.
Why do you think it costs so much extra to maintain roads in New Jersey? Where is the money going? And how can we get costs under control? Leave your answers using the comments form below.