New Jersey Truck Traffic
To add insult to injury, large trucks fail to pay their fair share of road costs. The 2000 Federal Highway Cost Allocation Study found that heavy trucks underpay their share of highway costs by nearly $1.9 billion annually. We’ll bet New Jersey is undercharging trucks, but we have no way of knowing. As the report points out, New Jersey has not conducted a cost allocation study to determine the cost responsibility of each vehicle class on the roads in our state. This information would help law makers determine whether changes need to be made in order to charge each vehicle class its fair share of road maintenance costs.
We don’t know the answer to the truck problem, but it seems greater use of the rail system would be a start. While the Reason Public Policy Institute proposes a new alternative – Toll Truckways. Their concept would add specialized heavy-duty toll truck lanes to existing major highways, especially long-distance Interstate routes. These lanes would be for trucks only and would be barrier-separated from general traffic to form separate “Truckways”.
By significantly increasing truck payload capacity allowing [longer combination vehicles (LCVs)], Toll Truckways would reduce the cost of shipping most U.S. freight, making better use of the nation’s extensive highway network. By separating much heavy truck traffic from automobiles, Truckways would reduce the extent of car-truck collisions, thereby improving highway safety. By hauling more freight in fewer trucks, the Truckways would produce net environmental benefits. And by making use of toll financing this important addition to the highway system could be accomplished at much less cost to highway trust funds than paying for the Truckways out of fuel tax revenues.
Let’s hope our representatives in Trenton and Washington start planning for the future, as we shudder to think of 80% more truck traffic in the Garden State.