In South Jersey, there’s dismay at potential of having to pay for NJ Transit, which region barely uses

It’s an easy argument for those in government to make: Businesses benefit from public services — they should pay for them.

But, what happens when businesses don’t benefit?

That’s a question that is coming out of South Jersey, where its most profitable companies will be asked to pay a 2.5% Corporate Transit Fee.

“This proposal is asking South Jersey businesses to be taxed to fund something we really have little to no access to, and little to no regular use for,” Christina Renna, the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey said.

Here’s the bigger point: The South Jersey region desperately wants more New Jersey Transit services.

CCSNJ’s recent policy paper, released earlier this month, said much of South Jersey is a “transit desert,” with little passenger rail service south of the city of Camden and minimal bus service.

The simple fact is, the farther south you go, the worse public transportation options are, the report said, offering the following suggestions:

  • Better marketing of Atlantic City Line, the River Line and the PATCO Speedline;
  • Completion of the Glassboro-Camden Line;
  • Completion of New Jersey Transit’s South Jersey Bus Rapid Transit system;
  • More bus lines to “transit deserts” with new economic opportunities and jobs, such as the New Jersey Wind Port in Salem County;
  • Extension of Route 55 into Cape May County.

“It’s all over our report,” she said. “We come out strong against have any part of the (Corporate Business Tax) tied to NJ Transit because of NJ Transit’s lack of attention down here.”

Renna asks, if businesses are being asked to fund NJ Transit, shouldn’t they get some of these requests?

Instead, the region will be asked to help a system that helps a lot of North Jersey riders actually leave the state.

“We’re not the ridership that uses it — or has access to it,” she said. “So, why are we being asked to pay for it?”