RELEASE: Gottheimer Helps Cut “Pothole Tax” That’s Whacking Jersey Residents with Costly Car Repairs, Lengthy Commutes

Feb 01, 2022
Press

Crumbling Roads Cost Residents a $713 “Pothole Tax” Each Year in Car Repairs. Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Will Invest in Fixing Route 17, New Jersey’s Roadways. Infrastructure Bill Will Make Commutes Safer, Easier, and More Affordable.

Gottheimer at Route 17 today

PARAMUS, NJ — Today, February 2, 2022, U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) visited Route 17, a major New Jersey state highway, to highlight how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill is going to cut the “Pothole Tax” on Jersey residents. On average, each New Jersey driver pays, on average, a $713 “Pothole Tax” every year from damage to their cars.

The historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will invest more than $8 billion just to fix New Jersey’s roads and bridges, to not only cut the Pothole Tax, but also to help improve commutes, improve safety, create jobs, and grow the economy.

Gottheimer helped to shape and pass the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, along with the Problem Solvers Caucus, which he Co-Chairs, and a group of Democrats and Republicans from both the House and Senate.

“Right now, there is a major silent tax on Jersey families — the cost of driving on our crumbling roads — or as I like to call it: the Pothole Tax. It’s a tax that hits our pocketbooks and our time. It impacts our families and small businesses. And it’s not insignificant,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5). “Because of the conditions of our roads, the Pothole Tax costs Jersey drivers, on average, $713 dollars a year. $713 in damage to their cars, not including lost productivity and time. Flat tires, cracks in wheels, and transmissions falling out of cars. Hours lost in traffic trying to get to work. Hours missed reading bedtime stories to your children. But now, thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill we are going to help cut the Pothole Tax.”

Gottheimer added, “If you talk to anyone from Jersey, you get the tire insurance because you’re always getting flat tires from potholes.”

In addition to the $8 billion to fix New Jersey’s roads and bridges, the Garden State will receive major investments for building the Gateway Tunnel, electric vehicle infrastructure, broadband, clean water, public transportation, and climate resilience.

Gottheimer was joined today by Bergen County Commissioner and President IBEW#164 Tom Sullivan, President of Bergen County Central Trades and Labor Council Mike Schneider, Park Ridge Mayor and IBEW 164 member Keith Misciagna, Operating Engineers Local 825 Cesar Gamio and Daniel Ortega, Pipefitters Local 274 Ed Driscoll, and Plumbers Local 24 Enzo Stricole.

Watch today’s press conference here.

Gottheimer with local leaders and labor groups today

Gottheimer’s remarks as prepared for delivery

 

We’re here today, standing right near everyone’s favorite highway, Route 17, to talk about how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will help cut the Pothole Tax for New Jersey drivers.

Right now, there is a major silent tax on Jersey families — the cost of driving on our crumbling roads — or as I like to call it: the Pothole Tax. It’s a tax that hits our pocketbooks and our time. It impacts our families and small businesses.

And it’s not insignificant.

Because of the conditions of our roads, the Pothole Tax costs Jersey drivers, on average, $713 dollars a year. $713 in damage to their cars, not including lost productivity and time. Flat tires, cracks in wheels and transmissions falling out of cars. Hours lost in traffic trying to get to work. Hours missed of reading bedtime stories to your children. $713 dollars per year! That’s a massive extra tax — that our residents shouldn’t have to be paying.

If you talk to anyone from Jersey, you get the tire insurance because you’re always getting flat tires from potholes.

But now, the good news: Thanks to critical investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which I’m proud to have played a key role in helping shape and pass, we are finally going to cut the Pothole Tax, making life more affordable and — not to mention — a whole lot smoother and more productive, for Jersey families.

Today, we are looking over Route 17, which everyone here knows has its fair share of potholes and pockmarks and other issues that make the commute on this road not the easiest on residents — or on their cars.

But Route 17 is just one highway here in New Jersey that is in poor condition, making life harder for New Jersey families.

In New Jersey, more than 3,995 miles of highway are in poor condition. In fact, we have the third worst roads in the entire nation.  As a result, Since 2011, commute times have increased by 8.8%. That’s insane.

And that doesn’t even include the cost of all the time you lose driving on outdated roads or dealing with car repair headaches.

More than 700 dollars a year, just because we haven’t made the investments to update our roads in decades — it’s unacceptable.

Part of what’s also making public transit commutes even longer comes directly from buses having to drive on and getting delayed by outdated roads.

Now, filling one pothole at a time , without doing what’s necessary to fix our crumbling roads, is still just a band aid.

And believe me, I do potholes — so we must fill them all as we see them.

But for Jersey to compete and win in the long run, to keep our families and businesses here, we need to make real investments in infrastructure. Our roads. Our bridges. The Gateway Train Tunnel, New Jersey Transit. Our water and broadband.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which was signed into law just a few months ago, is the game changer we need.

It will help cut the Pothole Tax. It will reduce those commutes. It will improve our economy. It will make our lives more productive and better. We’ll get home to see our kids after work.

Thanks to our work in Congress, and our regular requests to the State, dollars from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will help fix Route 17. It’s now a major priority. And I want to thank the Governor for recognizing, like we all do, its importance.

The State has already prioritized three projects on Route 17, right here in Bergen County. That is major news for our community, and for folks all across North Jersey.

I know that will make the daily commutes for hundreds of thousands of Jersey residents, who drive on this highway everyday, better and safer.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill invests in things like pavement preservation and resurfacing, which are critical for building better roads and are part of fixing potholes, big and small. Plus, they help make the roads safer.

Because beyond making life more expensive and stressful, potholes and outdated, crumbling roads also make life more dangerous.

That’s why it’s fantastic that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will invest more than 42 million dollars in highway safety traffic programs right here in New Jersey.

Route 17 was first paved about 100 years ago; the train tunnel between New York and New Jersey, which connects the Northeast Corridor that 20 percent of our GDP runs through, is more than 110 years old. Many of our bridges are that old as well, and the last major national investment this country made in our roads and bridges was in the 1950s.

Instead of relying on infrastructure that is way past its prime, we should be building infrastructure that is ready to last and support our communities for the next 100 years, and beyond.

One of the most important parts of my job in Congress is to help make life more affordable for North Jersey residents — cutting taxes and clawing more investment back from Washington to our New Jersey communities. That’s why I am also fighting so hard to restore the State and Local Tax deduction – or SALT – to bring costs down for families.

It’s also why my team has a dedicated Return on Investment Director, whose job it is to find all the ways we can bring investment back to North Jersey to help our police, firefighters, and EMTs — and make life more affordable. On top of that, I am also fighting back against the ridiculous congestion tax New York is trying to impose on hardworking Jersey residents who are just trying to get to work in Manhattan and back home to see their kids at night.

And as we see costs rising from COVID and supply chain issues, I have also introduced a comprehensive Affordability Agenda for Jersey — to help address higher prices caused by the COVID-economy, including supply chain issues.  We need to help bring costs down for families.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will cut the Pothole Tax, invest in projects all across the Garden State, help cut commute times, make our roads safer, help grow our economy, create new jobs, and overall improve the quality of life for Jersey residents.

It will finally get the Gateway Tunnel between New York and New Jersey built. It commits unmatched resources to storm resiliency, electric vehicle infrastructure, and clean drinking water.

It makes the largest investment in bridges since the creation of America’s highway system.

And it is also the key to increasing our competitiveness with China, which spent $3 trillion dollars on infrastructure outside of China in recent years.

We’re going to make all this possible without raising taxes on Jersey taxpayers.

This historic legislation will help create two million jobs a year for the next decade. Much of this work will be led by our hardworking building trades — with jobs for the hardworking men and women of labor.

All while making life more affordable for hardworking families.

This legislation is also good for the economy. It will help us grow the economy in the long term. For every $1 we invest in infrastructure, there’s more than $3 of economic output.

And I know by working together and investing in our communities and our future, for New Jersey and for our nation, our best days will always be ahead of us. Thank you and God bless you. And may God bless our troops.

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