By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Specifically, the Transportation Trust Fund would be replenished for around 10 years, with $2 billion spent annually on roads, bridges and transit networks (up $400,000 from the current $1.6 billion), while annual transportation aid for local governments would be doubled to $400 million per year.
The program would be funded by revising the petroleum products gross receipts tax, which is imposed on all companies engaged in refining or distributing petroleum products for distribution in this state.
It applies to the first sale, not for export, of petroleum products within New Jersey. Currently, home heating oil and propane gas and kerosene used for residential heating are exempt from the tax.
Furthermore, it would also be funded by modernizing how New Jersey taxes jet fuel. New Jersey taxes jet fuel at a low rate of 4 cents per gallon, and a recent study found commercial airlines get $42 million a year in tax breaks from the state under a policy that only taxes jet fuel they consume while taxiing and during takeoff.
Under this new plan, all fuel tax revenue would be constitutionally dedicated to transportation needs.
“A modern transportation network and the construction jobs it will bring are crucial to the state’s economic future,” Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) said in a statement.
“Gov. Christie has displayed a shocking lack of leadership when it comes to fixing this problem, becoming the first governor in modern history to do nothing as the transportation fund so vital to daily commutes and well-paying jobs nears bankruptcy.”
Prieto also vowed to succeed where Christie “has failed,” adding that he looks forward to working with both his Assembly colleagues and the state Senate to get on bill on the governor’s table.
Last month, Prieto told Hudson County View that the Transportation Trust Fund was going to be one of his top priorities with the Atlantic City rescue plan in the rearview.
The Senate proposal calls for 23 cents in motor fuels tax to be added to the existing 14.5 cent gas tax, using the motor fuel, diesel and petroleum products taxes to pay off the current debt, establishing income tax deduction of all gas taxes paid by those for whom gas tax exceeds 1 percent of income – among several other details.
“We are optimistic that our plan for a 10-year, $20 billion Transportation Trust Fund will win the support of business and labor leaders, environmentalists and transportation advocates, and the millions of New Jerseyans who are tired of driving over poor highways and crumbling bridges, jamming into overcrowded buses and trains that break down and get delayed too often,” state Senator Paul Sarlo (D-36) said in a separate statement.
“This plan will create jobs, spur economic growth, increasing housing values and make New Jersey competitive for decades to come.”
The Assembly plan was unveiled by Prieto, Assemblymen Gary Schaer (D-36) and John McKeon (D-27), as well as Assemblywomen Shavonda Sumter (D-35) and Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-37).
Meanwhile, the Senate plan was revealed by Sarlo and state Senator Steve Oroho (R-24).