WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — It is a debate that doesn’t go away in New Jersey: Should the gas tax be raised to pay for road projects?
The state’s Transportation Trust Fund, which receives money from the tax, is running out of funds needed to repair potholes, bridges and more, CBS2’s Christine Sloan reported.
The state government must either borrow money to replenish it or raise the gas tax.
“I think everybody’s on a budget as it is,” said Amy Rosen, of Linden. “I don’t think anything needs to be raised.”
“I’m happy if the gas tax goes up and it fixes our roads,” one man said.
The conservative group Americans for Prosperity is fighting any gas tax hike. Spokesman Mike Proto said the organization has collected hundreds of signatures on an online petition demanding lawmakers cut waste instead.
“We have people in businesses leaving the state,” Proto said. “We can’t afford higher taxes.
“We’re advocating for across-the-board cuts in every department,” he added.
Raising the gas tax has been a hot topic for almost every governor. Gov. Chris Christie said during his budget address last month there would be no new taxes.
But Assemblyman John Wisniewski, D-Sayreville, said that if New Jerseyans want nice roads and repairs, someone has to pay for it and government can’t keep borrowing to do that.
Wisniewski said the governor will likely borrow $600 million for the trust fund. Christie’s office has not responded to CBS2’s request for comment.
Wisniewski proposed a bill to increase the gas tax by 25 cents a gallon. For the average commuter, he says that’s less than 50 cents a day.
“The reality that AFP (Americans for Prosperity) is not facing is that you can’t build bridges and you can’t build roads with hopes and wishes,” he said.