To the Editor:
The highway network into and out of Cape May County, from the Gloucester/Cumberland/Salem Counties has needed upgrading for years. The completion of Route 55 is akin to the Jersey Devil. You occasionally hear about it, but never see it. To remedy this, I propose that 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. The proposed toll plaza would be similar to the Egg Harbor Toll Plaza on the Atlantic City Expressway.
The South Jersey Transportation Authority, which operates the Atlantic City Expressway, could be given responsibility and authority to construct, operate, maintain and manage the new toll plaza. Revenues would be dedicated to local share funding for the county and state highway improvements in Cumberland, Cape May, Gloucester and Salem Counties including Routes #47,#347.#83, #49 and #50. In last Fall's congressional election, neither candidate addressed the failure to complete Route 55 and I doubt that roadway will ever be completed due to environmental objections.
I note the construction on the Garden State Parkway in Atlantic County appears to include widening and replacement of bridges. This widening will help some, but will not address the high number of dangerous vehicle accidents that occur on two lane County and State roadways.
The State faces daunting fiscal problems due to COVID 19. Costs of public education have risen and ridership and revenue losses at NJTRANSIT are huge. The State's borrowing of $4.3 billion will have to be repaid. Tolling Route 55 is one way to help ensure that funding for highways in South Jersey does not fall short.