To the Editor:
Two lane highways linking Cape May County with Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem Counties need upgrading. Delay in summer months and accidents, some fatal, are too frequent.
I propose a toll plaza be erected along the southern portion of Route 55 in the vicinity of Malaga where the Counties of Salem, Cumberland and Gloucester come together.
A license plate scanner could differentiate between those motorists making local trips versus interstate trips. Local trips could be charged less.
The South Jersey Transportation Authority, (SJTA), could be given the responsibility and authority to construct, operate, maintain and manage the new toll plaza.
Revenues collected would be dedicated to local share funding for County and State highway improvements. Routes 47, 347, 83, 49 and 50 form a network of two lane roadways leading to and from Cape May County.
Present construction on the Garden State Parkway in Atlantic County includes widening of the roadway and bridges. This widening will not address the vehicle accidents that occur on two lane roadways.
In 1991, 4.4 miles of I-95 leading to and from the George Washington Bridge was sold by the State of NJ & NJDOT to the PANYNJ. Involving SJTA in Route 55 would not be unique.
In 2020, the SJTA raised tolls to support a wide variety of transportation projects, including $40 million to install a cashless electronic toll collection system, $150 million to widen a 13-mile section of the Atlantic City Expressway, $60 million to build a direct connector to the Atlantic City Airport, $17.4 million in resurfacing projects and $200 million in design support funding for NJTRANSIT's proposed $1.8 billion Camden to Glassboro light rail line using Conrail alignment.
Between South Camden and downtown Camden, new track would have to be built on new elevated structure. The model is the NJTRANSIT River Line between Camden and Trenton that generates ten cents of revenue for every dollar it costs to operate.
As electric cars continue to replace gasoline powered autos, gas tax revenues to support transportation will decline.