TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There were hints in New Jersey Friday that state lawmakers may be looking for common ground to find a source for funding road projects.

As WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported, Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) told business leaders at a conference that he is open to raising the gas tax to refill the dwindling state Transportation Trust Fund.

The fund, which receives money from the gas tax, has been running out of funds needed to repair potholes, bridges and more.

The state government must either borrow money to replenish it or raise the gas tax.

Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Secaucus) was pleased at Bramnick’s openness to the tax hike.

“It’s a step in the right direction that he’s sort of admitting that we have a problem,” Prieto said.

Prieto pointed out that Bramnick said his support for raising the gas tax did hinge on phasing out the estate tax – a compromise to which Prieto said he was open.

But Prieto did say the estate tax brings in $440 million in revenue for which the state would have to make up. He said he thinks the state would have to raise the gas tax by about 20 cents.

“It would still be 20-something cents cheaper than all of our less surround states,” Prieto said.

Prieto said the money would go only to transportation projects.

Raising the gas tax has been a hot topic for almost every governor. Gov. Chris Christie said during his budget address this past winter there would be no new taxes.


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