Recent major natural disasters in New Jersey have demonstrated the need to increase the resilience of transportation infrastructure. This research examines public attitudes toward revenue sources that can be dedicated to protecting vulnerable areas, most notably the transportation linkages on which the state depends. A statewide survey was conducted to gather data approximately four months following Superstorm Sandy, the costliest natural disaster in the state’s history. The authors’ objective was to sample public attitudes while the impacts of the disaster were still fresh. They found little support for temporary tax increases to improve resiliency, with the most positive support for taxing visitors (i.e., a hotel and recreational tax) and for a 30-year bond measure (i.e., taxing the future). This observation seemingly contradicts broad support for investing in new infrastructure, as well as maintaining and protecting existing infrastructure. Multivariate analysis to understand the underlying attitudes toward raising revenue found that more left-leaning or communitarian attitudes are associated with more support for gasoline, income, or sales taxes devoted to mitigating vulnerability. Those who supported investment in transit and protecting infrastructure also were more likely to support these taxes. There was no parallel finding of factors associated with taxing visitors or issuing bonds.
Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Public Policy | Transportation
Robert B. Noland, Marc D. Weiner, and Michael R. Greenberg. "Funding Resilient Infrastructure in New Jersey: Attitudes Following a Natural Disaster" Mineta Transportation Institute Publications (2016).