Friday, November 2, 2007
More Expensive To Travel These Parts
The NYT has a story today about the high cost of travelling in our region, and further hikes looming on the horizon. The handy chart above, (credit: NYT; click to expand) details the pain, and most of it falls on New Jersey commuters.
Of course, all that pain is good for something. The NJ Transit hikes will help pay for a new tunnel under the Hudson River, and the Port Authority increases help pay for all new cars on the PATH system, as well as a total overhaul of the system itself.
Unfortunately for NJ commuters, an $8 Hudson crossing toll means that the notion of giving credit towards congestion pricing for those tolls must be reconsidered.
Let's call a spade a spade: these transit hikes amount to a regressive tax. The wealthiest among us are getting off light, as years of income tax cuts have gutted public financing for transit expansion, improvements, and maintenance. In New Jersey under Christine Whitman, income taxes were slashed, and property taxes, usage fees and every other conceivable way to squeeze money out of the lower and middle classes ballooned.
In New York, transit funding was slashed by a sneering, incestuous Rudy Giuliani and the wooden, uninspiring George Pataki.
We need to re-examine the inequity of a taxing system that balances financing for public works on the backs of the middle class.