ARC Post-Mortem: Chris Christie Afraid to Bite the Bullet

After yesterday’s ARC decision, I couldn’t help thinking of this morsel of wisdom from New York Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch last April:

The difficulty, politically, in my judgment, is very obvious. There are very few short-term dividends, for people who run for office, in long-term investments. They don’t get the benefit out of it… The benefits may not be realized until future generations. That is a political problem.

People are going to have to bite the bullet, in terms of usage charges and various taxes that will generate the revenue streams we need in order to build.

Ravitch was referring to the New York State Legislature’s failure to enact bridge tolls, but he might as well have been talking about Chris Christie’s refusal to raise New Jersey’s gas tax, which has been locked in at 10.5 cents a gallon since Reagan was president. Adjusting for inflation, it has never been lower than it is today.

Christie can say this decision was about cost-cutting, but we’re talking about an investment that would have paid off handsomely, even with cost overruns. Really, Christie just couldn’t bite the bullet. Instead of raising the gas tax to pay for transportation, he raided funds committed to one of the most important transit projects in the nation and borrowed more to keep on expanding roads.

So, New Jersey, here is a sneak preview of the future bequeathed to you by your governor:

Hat tip to Clarence for the video.

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