Nobody likes a toll hike, and people in New Jersey are no different.
A poll taken by Fairleigh Dickinson University shows almost half, 49%, are opposed to the hikes that will take effect after September 13. But the surprise is how many people were in favor of the increase.
“Despite the fact that there are people across the state who feel as if they are taxed to death,” said Krista Jenkins, director of the FDU Poll and professor of politics and government, “there was a fair number of people who do in fact favor the increase, as we find that 38 percent were supportive of the increase.”
As for those who oppose the toll hike, Jenkins said the poll found that distrust of policymakers was the main reason -- people simply don’t believe the additional money will be used to fix up the roads. “Were it not for the fact that people don’t really trust our legislators to do the right thing with money when it’s handed over,” she said, “we probably would have had more people favoring it. But again, 38 percent is still a fairly sizable number of people across the state who were willing to pay more for their tolls.”
The poll did not ask those who were in favor of the increase why they were, but it did ask those who opposed it for their reasons. Other than distrust of state government, 24% say they just can’t afford it, and 16% say the state already has enough money for road repairs.
With the exception of partisan differences, opinions were largely the same across a host of demographic groups. About two-thirds of Republicans were solidly opposed to kicking in more when they drive Jersey highways, while half of Democrats said they were okay with the rate hike. About 23% actually said the quality of the state’s roads and bridges is improving. Jenkins said that might be a case of out of sight, out of mind, as people drive less during the pandemic.