Elimination of tolls must go with gas tax increase

Your editorial cartoon titled "Ye Olde Gas Tax Revolt of 2003" (Sentinel, Dec. 4) should be directed to the existence of road tolls.

Based on a 2001 state Legislature memorandum, more money was collected in tolls than in state gasoline taxes in 2000 (about $627 million in tolls versus about $499 million in gasoline taxes).

With one of the lowest gasoline tax rates in the nation, which has not increased in close to 20 years, New Jersey may have to increase its gasoline tax because our roads need much work to make them safer. However, an increase in the gasoline tax should only be accompanied by the elimination of road tolls, which are the epitome of governmental waste and mismanagement.

Tolls are expensive to collect, result in the loss of matching federal highway funds and cause traffic congestion, additional pollution, wasted gasoline and accidents. An increase of about 6.6 cents per gallon could cover the revenue requirement currently received from tolls, for a savings of about $313 million per year.

My recommendation is for readers to voice their concerns to Gov. James McGreevey at P.O. Box 001, Trenton, NJ 08625 and/or to the Assembly and Senate transportation chairmen in Trenton.

When elected officials translate a large number of concerns into votes, we can expect them to do what’s best for citizens and not for special interest groups.

Bob Ahlers

East Brunswick