It took 13 deaths for MN to raise its gas tax

145 victims, 22 children, 13 deaths, one bridge collapse.  Finally, some action from the Legislature.

Senator Steve Oroho doesn't think we should wait until we are burying children, for the state to face the fact that the Transportation Trust Fund is going bankrupt.  

Others disagree, like approved Herald commentator Michele Guttenberger.

Senator Steve Oroho doesn't want homeowners and businesses to face a property tax explosion when the inevitable tragedy leads to lawsuits against government for negligence.  Steve Oroho is behaving the way we expect adults to behave in a crisis.  He isn't screaming.  He isn't crying.  He isn't blaming.  He isn't having a hissy fit  -- or an attack of the snarkies.

But some, like failed politician Kenneth Collins, would rather close their eyes and cling to cheap slogans instead of being an adult.

Senator Steve Oroho is an adult.  He isn't taking the easy way, the political way.  Steve Oroho is taking the responsible way. 

In the real world, we know that when the money runs out, and the workers don't get paid, the repairs will stop.  Here's how it works. 

The Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) collects money from the gas tax and then uses that money to maintain and repair state roads and bridges.  The TTF also sends money to local governments (counties and municipalities) so that they can afford to maintain and repair the roads and bridges that they own. 

The TTF is nearly bankrupt.  There will be no money for the maintenance and repair of the roads and bridges owned by the state AND there will be no money to send to local governments to maintain and repair their roads and bridges.

When that happens, local governments will have a decision to make:  Either they raise property taxes on every homeowner and business to pay for the maintenance and repair of roads and bridges; or they allow those roads and bridges to fall into disrepair, and become unsafe. 

If local governments take the second option and allow roads and bridges to become unsafe, they will be left with just two choices:  Close those roads and bridges as they become unsafe, or accept that there will be lawsuits for negligence when people are injured or killed on those unsafe roads and bridges.  Of course, the legal bills and settlements for such lawsuits will also result in the need to raise property taxes -- so the taxpayer will lose either way.

Approximately one-third of gas tax revenues in New Jersey come from out-of-state travelers.  All property taxes come from the people of New Jersey.  So which do you think is the best way to pay for improvements to roads and bridges, an increase in the gas tax or an increase in property taxes?

Let us know and we'll publish your thoughts and suggestions.  Unlike some in the corporate media, we are not afraid of having an open debate.

Watchdog has reached out to victims and to families of victims of those who failed to act like adults -- until it was too late.  Watchdog will be hosting a telephone town hall in which the folks here in Sussex County can talk directly with the people who have suffered when government kicked the can down the road instead of dealing with it like adults.  We believe it will be instructive.