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Poll: Where Can NJ Find the Money For Much-Needed Transportation Projects?

Is raising the gas tax the best solution, or are there better ways to come up with the necessary funds?

New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund will run out of money for new highway, bridge, and mass-transit capital projects midway through the next budget year. Gov. Chris Christie’s new transportation commissioner, Jamie Fox, is already examining options to underwrite a new five-year plan, as is the Assembly Transportation Committee, which held the first of four public hearings on TTF funding yesterday in Montclair.

What should New Jersey do to fund transportation construction projects over the next five years?

  • Raise the gas tax or petroleum products tax 20 cents a gallon and constitutionally dedicate the $1 billion raised to transportation projects. New Jersey has the second-lowest gas tax in the country at 14.5 cents a gallon, which is far below New York’s 50.5 cents and Pennsylvania’s 41.8 cent tax.
  • Borrow most of the money, as we have been doing for the past 10 years. Interest rates are historically low: it’s just like a mortgage.
  • Merge the Turnpike Authority and other toll roads into the state Department of Transportation, then use toll money to reduce the size of the gas-tax increase.
  • Find the money elsewhere in the budget. Christie promised to fund transportation on a pay-as-you-go basis when he ran for governor; surely, he can find $1 billion in cuts in a $32 billion budget.
  • Impose a 7 percent sales tax on gas sales. It would raise more than $1 billion and it would have the advantage that tax revenues would rise as gas prices go up.
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