New Jersey Law Makers Are Raising The Price To Drive

28 11 2007

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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A key New Jersey lawmaker wants the state to consider increasing its gasoline tax – an idea that puts him on a collision course with the governor who is looking to hike highway tolls instead.

New Jersey hasn’t boosted its 14.5-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax since 1988, giving it the nation’s third lowest gasoline tax.

But Assemblyman John Wisniewski, a Middlesex County Democrat, said increasing the levy would be more responsible than Democratic Gov. Jon S. Corzine’s plan to solve state fiscal woes by issuing bonds that would be paid back with increased highway tolls.

“The only way to have a real guaranteed system is to have a guaranteed revenue source, and the motor fuels tax has proven to be that over the long haul and I think that has to be part of a solution,” Wisniewski said on Tuesday.

Wisniewski said he doesn’t know how much the tax should increase, but that doubling it would bring in enough money to fix aging bridges and roadways without borrowing money.

“I think it’s a more equitable way to fund our transportation infrastructure,” he said.

But state Transportation Commissioner Kris Kolluri said the gas tax would have to increase to as much as 58.5 cents to meet current transportation needs and provide money to improve toll roads and meet future state transportation needs.

“Those are the facts,” Kolluri said. “Those are the numbers that we ran.”

Wisniewski is the Assembly Transportation Committee chairman and will have heavy influence over how Corzine’s plan advances through the Legislature. NorthJersey.com

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