Ocean County Freeholders Oppose New Gas Tax

(Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

TOMS RIVER – Ocean County Freeholders have voiced their protests against the proposed 2-cent gas hike coming out of Trenton. The revenue projections from the last gas tax hike – 23 cents per gallon – fell short, and rather than reigning in or even cutting spending, the idea is to demand more from the already hemorrhaging pockets of New Jersey residents.

The freeholders unanimously opposed the 23-cent per gallon tax hike, and they oppose this one.

Ocean County residents will be hardest hit, officials said.

“Here we go again,” Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little said. “This Board of Freeholders will vehemently oppose an additional increase in the gasoline tax, as we did two years ago when Trenton hiked the tax by 23 cents per gallon.”

“We’ve said it time and time again, these increases in the gas tax are especially unfair to Ocean County residents, who have some of the longest commuting distances in New Jersey,” Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari added.

Federal census statistics show more than 108,000 Ocean County residents commute 30 minutes or more to work, Vicari said. And more than 90,000 people travel outside of the county to reach their workplace. Ocean County commuters have some of the longest commutes in the state.

Most of those – 82 percent – use their own vehicles. Only a fraction of Ocean County commuters use public transportation.

“This is a far cry from Northern New Jersey Counties that are served by numerous bus, train and light rail lines,” Vicari said. “The gas tax is unfair to Ocean County residents who have no other choice than to drive to work.”

Ocean County taxpayers don’t even see the benefits of these tax hikes, Vicari said.

“We’ve seen no progress on the widening of Route 9,” Vicari said. “The Route 166 project in Toms River continues to drag on with no end in sight. When the state finally decided to rebuild the Mathis Bridge they simply replaced the drawbridge with another drawbridge instead of building a higher span that wouldn’t delay traffic.”