New Jersey governor would consider fuel tax increase upon re-election

| 10/16/2009

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine said he is open to upping the state’s fuel tax rate during a second term to help support the state’s transportation fund. He also would consider diverting money from other budgets to roads.

The announcement comes as at least one poll shows the governor’s race in New Jersey is a virtual tie between the Democratic incumbent Corzine and Republican Chris Christie.

The state is looking to address infrastructure needs while dealing with a possible $8 billion budget deficit.

Desperate times appear to call for desperate measures. There is concern the state’s Transportation Trust Fund could run out of money within two years.

Corzine said during a meeting with The Record’s editorial board that while he doesn’t like calling for a tax increase or diverting money, it is “necessary” to get work done.

The state’s gas tax, which is 14.5 cents per gallon, and diesel tax, 17.5 cents, are among the lowest in the nation.

The governor pointed out the trust fund will help foot the bill for an $8.7 billion commuter rail tunnel to New York City, as well as widening the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway, which have a price tag of more than $2 billion.

Owner-operator and OOIDA Life Member Walter Rambo, until recently a longtime resident of New Jersey, said the governor’s plan doesn’t get to the root of the transportation funding problem.

“Raising the taxes isn’t going to change anything. It just gives them more money to spend that they aren’t going to spend it where it should be spent. That’s the whole problem,” Rambo told Land Line.

Rambo said there is a bigger issue that needs to be addressed.

“What do they do with all the money they collect now? That’s the answer I want.”

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Jersey in 2009, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

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