According to an article appearing in the Press of Atlantic City, August 2017, the city of Wildwood was making emergency repairs to their boardwalk daily. The adjoining municipality of North Wildwood had a similar situation as the boards needed replacement caused by not only wear and tear but exposure to the elements as well. Total expected expenditure for the refurbishments combined would be in the realm of $1million. It was expected that the funds would be raised locally by the cities.
Here we are in 2019, it was February to be exact, when the Press ran another article stating that now the city of Wildwood was discussing complete reconstruction of the entire stretch of the promenade to the tune of $64.5million. Reconstruction would update fiber optics, sanitary sewer, and water piping, among other tenants of the infrastructure. Rather than pass the expense on to the taxpayers the mayor is seeking funding from the state. A senate bill appropriated from “excess funds” $4million per year until 2033 for maintenance/repairs, it was vetoed by the Governor in August as unconstitutional. Now the city is seeking the funding for replacement by having the Transportation Trust Fund foot the bill. If not approved for the TTFs project list in March of 2020 they will have to seek other sources of funding.
The Transportation Trust Fund was created in 1984 to ensure that funds would be available to finance road and bridge repairs and replacements. The Motor Fuels Tax, Petroleum Products Gross Receipts Tax and a portion of general Sales and Use Tax are dedicated to transportation purposes by the New Jersey State Constitution. The good driver registration surcharge fee, heavy truck fees and toll road authority contributions are dedicated by statute only and subject to change by the legislature. The Trust Fund’s website states: New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund Authority operates the public transportation system. The Authority accounts for the planning, acquisition, engineering, construction, repair, resurfacing, and rehabilitation of the bridges and roads. New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund Authority serves clients in the State of New Jersey.
Nowhere does any of the available information regarding the fund talk about wooden/resin walkways. If this $64.5 million is approved for funding what is to stop the other shore communities from seeking the same. The Trust Fund is largely financed by the NJ Gas Tax which in 2016 was increased by the Murphy administration by 185%. Residents though not happy understood the tax dollars were earmarked for the roads and bridges and have sucked it up as they pay through the nose for fuel for necessary travel. NJ residents now pay among the highest gas taxes in the nation and many say that they are not getting their money’s worth according to a poll of 808 residents conducted by FDU with half saying that the quality of the roads remains the same. While 83% of those polled say the state should find ways to do the work with the money it already raises the Governor says that residents don’t mind paying higher taxes if they feel that they are getting their money’s worth. That is a conundrum who is he talking to? Further the governor is calling for increasing the sales tax which was lowered a smidgeon when the gas tax was increased.
In a nutshell, NJ taxpayers after the November elections are again looking at a higher sales tax, misuse of the Transportation Trust Fund supported by the Democratic majority in the assembly and senate, the Rain Tax pouring down and an additional parking tax in cities having large entertainment venues.
It must be noted that the incumbents in District 22 have supported it all and don’t be surprised if they don’t continue to tax, tax and tax again. When will it stop??? When the log jam is broken in state government and we again have bipartisan governing bodies. Voters should know that I have signed a pledge not to vote yes on any measure that will increase taxes, and I mean it. Please consider supporting me for the General Assembly on November 5th, you really have nothing to lose.