Fix Transportation And Transit
New Jersey will spend nearly $4 billion on roads, bridges, trains, ports, tunnels and other transportation projects during fiscal year 2017, not including spending by local and county governments. Despite the spending, it’s obvious that New Jerseyans haven’t gotten their money’s worth. Politics in Trenton has led to deteriorating infrastructure and constant delays, inconveniencing commuters and New Jersey residents on a daily basis.
Kim Guadagno understands one of the top responsibilities of a governor is to literally make sure “the trains run on time.” If elected, Kim Guadagno will seek to depoliticize transportation and rethink how New Jersey approaches transportation and infrastructure to create a world-class system New Jerseyans deserve.
1) Take Politics Out Of Transportation Funding With New Funding Formula
Kim Guadagno believes the success or failure of a transportation project shouldn’t depend on the power and preferences of a particular legislator, governor or political appointee. However, under the current system of in Trenton, that is too often the case. As a part of the gas tax increase deal, Trenton lawmakers made the problem worse by creating a panel of four political appointees who will decide how transportation money is spent in New Jersey. Kim Guadagno believes this “panel of politics” is the worst public policy to come out of Trenton in a generation because it gives control over billions of our tax dollars to unelected bureaucrats unaccountable to the people of New Jersey. Not only does this panel raise accountability issues with billions of dollars in the hands of a few political appointees, this arrangement raises ethical concerns as well. As governor, Kim Guadagno will take politics out of transportation funding and return accountability to the system by eliminating the panel of four and implementing an evidence-based transportation funding formula that prioritizes projects based on need, congestion relief, safety and economic development. This will allow the state to undertake more projects throughout the state with existing revenues.
2) Divert New York Tax Revenue To New Jersey Transportation Projects
The 200,000 commuters who live in New Jersey but work in New York are required to file income taxes in both states. As governor, Kim Guadagno will look to adopt a plan floated during the primary election campaign which sought to change the bi-state tax structure to benefit New Jersey commuters. She will direct the state treasurer to explore a reciprocal tax agreement to divert New York tax revenue to help fund needed transportation projects in New Jersey to benefit the region as a whole without raising taxes.
3) Impose A Culture Of Customer Service
As New Jersey’s first lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno has given her phone number out to thousands of New Jerseyans who needed help dealing with state government agencies. While she will continue to give out her phone number if elected, taxpayers and commuters shouldn’t have to call the governor or lieutenant governor to get needed services. As governor, Kim Guadagno will bring that same customer-service approach to transportation so that commuters are treated with respect and as the paying customers they are. She will require NJ Transit executives and the Department of Transportation commissioner to hold monthly public town hall meetings at major transit facilities so they can directly hear from riders and motorists. Kim will also require all top officials at New Jersey Transit to reapply for their jobs, with the goal of selecting the very best transportation professionals to lead the system.
4) Allow Commuters To Set Aside Money For Commuting Expenses Tax Free
Similar to Healthcare or College Savings Accounts, Commuting Expense Accounts can be set up allowing employers and workers to set money aside tax free to be used for parking, train, ferry or other monthly commuting expenses. New York requires employers with 20 or more employees to offer this benefit. As governor, Kim Guadagno will encourage more employers to take part in this program to ease the financial burden on commuters.
5) Audit Transportation Trust Fund And NJ Transit
According to a recent study, New Jersey has high administrative and construction costs when it comes to building new roads. And despite being a densely populated state with many transportation challenges, the system is siloed without a single official in charge of all of transportation infrastructure in New Jersey. As governor, Kim Guadagno will work with local, county, state and regional agencies to consolidate overhead to reduce construction, maintenance and operating costs and improve service for New Jerseyans. Because it is also unlikely that the Democratically-controlled legislature will repeal the recent $1.2 billion gas tax increase, Kim Guadagno will ensure that transportation dollars are spent efficiently and for their intended purposes by conducting a performance audit of aspects of transportation to ensure the best possible services for commuters.
6) Fight For NJ’s Fair Share Of Port Authority Funds
While it has improved in recent years, New Jersey has too often been denied its fair share of funds from the bi-state Port Authority agency. As governor, Kim Guadagno will always stand up for New Jersey and ensure we are not getting the short end of the stick from New York.
7) Work With Washington To Fund Priority Projects Like Gateway Tunnel
New Jersey is a donor state to the federal government, meaning taxpayers send more to the federal government in taxes than they get back in funding. As governor, Kim Guadagno will represent New Jersey and work with congressional leaders and the White House to ensure federal tax dollars come back to New Jersey for important infrastructure and transportation projects like the Gateway Tunnel project.
8) Build NJ Transit Bus Terminal
As governor, Kim Guadagno will work with the Port Authority to fund a new and modern NJ Transit bus terminal that will offer improved customer service.
9) Maximize Revenue From Existing Transit Facilities
From advertising on trains to retail in stations, Kim Guadagno will ensure that we are using mass transit assets to maximize revenue to offset costs to commuters.
10) Add Ferry Routes and Express Trains
As governor, Kim Guadagno will work with transit officials to expand ferry routes where it makes sense, and ask for a complete study of train occupancy and schedules to ensure we’re maximizing commuter capacity.