New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund is in dire need of additional funding. Word around the New Jersey Statehouse has legislators trying to figure out the best means of getting the funding necessary to rebuild our bridges and roads. In past years, they raised the gasoline tax. Drivers are concerned about a proposed increase.

In an interview with Atlantic County Sen. Jim Whelan several months ago, he brought up what this columnist thought was a new idea, but it was not. Sen. Whelan stated, “With an increase in electric and hybrid vehicles along with better fuel-efficient automobiles, the number of gasoline cars and amount of gas being used is slowly, but surely dropping.” This has resulted in fewer dollars being made available for the Transportation Trust Fund, Thus, there are insufficient funds to pave our roads and fix our bridges.

Whelan said he believes consideration should be given to a mileage tax. Electric, hybrid and any other vehicles that drive without gasoline would be equally taxed with those that use gasoline. Thus, no matter how fuel-efficient your car is, everyone driving a vehicle would be paying.

Oregon has implemented a 1.5 cent mileage tax. Similar programs are under consideration in Colorado and Washington. There is also discussion in California to institute such a tax. Of course, the plan has supporters and detractors on all sides of the political spectrum.

There is no question that something needs to be done to increase the revenues for New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund. Is this an equitable way to do it? Would you prefer a mileage tax or an increase on the gasoline tax? Please let Sen. Whelan and Assemblymen Chris Brown and Vince Mazzeo know.

A Steel Pier roller coaster?

Wow! That would certainly be a welcome addition to the rides on Steel Pier. Is this a new idea for Atlantic City? No, not really. Most of you may not be aware of the fact that, in 1910, there was a steel roller coaster on a pier that had a 360-degree ride. Check Atlantic City’s history books and you will see a picture of that ride.

It is my understanding that the construction of a roller coaster is being planned for the inlet side of the Steel Pier. It is anticipated that it will open for riders in summer 2017. It will be a state-of-the-art roller coaster and will have a 150-foot drop.

Just think how exciting the Steel Pier will be with a 200-foot high Ferris wheel on one side and a thrilling 150-foot roller coaster on the other. Imagine what the strollers will see as they walk down the Boardwalk. There will be many other wonderful rides between these two outstanding rides. The Ferris wheel will open for business by the end of 2015 and the roller coaster will be ready for riders in the above stated summer of 2017.

Medical education program

For too many years, there have been discussions about a medical education program in Atlantic City. It is logical for AtlantiCare to institute such a program. According to those with whom I have spoken, there is a dire need for additional medical assistants in this area of South Jersey.

It is my understanding that AtlantiCare owns some of the property in the block adjacent to AtlantiCare’s Atlantic City hospital. The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority had originally thought this would be a good site for their marketplace. With the interest expressed by AtlantiCare, the CRDA will seek a new site.

To the best of my recollection, there had been discussions about constructing a building on Atlantic Avenue that would have classrooms and residential units for those seeking their education in the medical field. It is expected that the ground level would be used for retail units and possibly a restaurant and coffee shop. This would serve the needs of their current and future staff members.

Unfortunately, this is not going to happen tomorrow. But there are serious discussions underway to make this become a reality. AtlantiCare has grown dramatically and there is a dire need to provide a facility for those seeking to enter the medical profession. The projected site is between Ohio and Indiana avenues and Atlantic and Pacific avenues, with the exception of the former Board of Education building now used by Caesars Entertainment. We certainly hope that this plan will be forthcoming as quickly as possible.

MGM in Atlantic City?

Jim Murren, president of the MGM Corporation, was in town for Gov. Chris Christie’s summit meeting last week. It is my understanding he expressed interest in the development of a project in Atlantic City. I have no further knowledge relative to whether it would be a casino or retail units on the large site his company owns adjacent to the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa.

One of the major factors I believe he would take into consideration would be whether or not there would be a casino or casinos in North Jersey. Let me remind you folks that there will be a big battle if a referendum is on the ballot in November to have a casino or casinos in North Jersey. If that referendum succeeds, regardless of how much money they would offer Atlantic City to allow it to happen, it would be a major factor in seeing additional casinos close their doors and more local folks losing their jobs.

Ms. Senior America contestants

The Ms. New Jersey Senior America Pageant will be held at Harrah’s Casino Hotel, Wednesday, June 3. It is open to women 60 and older. The theme is “Get busy living, have fun, make new friends, continue to make a difference and find unbridled fulfillment.” The search is on for ladies who have reached the “age of elegance.”

The state queen will embark on an exciting year of appearances throughout New Jersey and also compete for the coveted national title of Ms. Senior America 2015 at a pageant to be held at Resorts Casino Hotel. For information and an application call 822-7441 or email Johanne Santori, the pageant’s administrator and director, at adejoh@comcast.net.

Pinky’s Corner appears every Thursday in The Press. The Pinky’s Corner radio show airs 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays on WOND 1400-AM. Email Pinky at: pinkyscrnr@aol.com

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