NJ Legislature proposes $20B Transportation Trust Fund revitalization plan

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The state Assembly and Senate proposed a 10-year, $20 billion Transportation Trust Fund revitalization plan on Friday, aiming to boost transportation spending and aid to local governments. Vincent Prieto

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).

3 COMMENTS

  1. Sweeney and company are proposing to raise the gas tax by over 200 percent. They want us to feel good about it.
    The fact is that the Estate Tax break proposed along with the fuel hike will benefit the rich and the earned income credit will benefit the poor. Who gets screwed? The working middle class, of course. Sweeney and company are pandering to Sweeney’s cronies in the construction industry who may soon run out of hard earned tax dollars to swindle.. Don’t be fooled, folks. We’re getting our pockets picked by big Sweeney campaign donors. They would like us to believe that this is about safe roads. It is not!!! It’s all

  2. Just wanted to say “thanks very much” to all the NJ legislators who voted to increase the gas tax by 200 percent! New Jerseyians already pay THE highest property taxes in the US, THE highest insurance premiums in the US and now we will be paying the SEVENTH highest gas taxes in the US! Thanks a bunch, fellas and gals in the NJ legislature.

    Be honest, NJ legislators. Exactly how much of the gas tax dollars will go directly and only into the Transportation Fund — which BTW does NOT exist? How many of the gas tax dollars will go for improvements and repairs to roads and bridges in SOUTH Jersey — roads and bridges from Trenton on South? How many of the gas tax dollars will be used for projects OTHER THAN repairs and improvements to roads and bridges?

    Face it, New Jerseyians, we are SCREWED AGAIN! Thanks a whole lot fellas and gals in the NJ legislature!

  3. No one ever wants to see any tax increase or user fee, but the reality is New Jersey’s infrastructure is very old, the NJTTF has been under-funded for years, the motoring public and our economy depends on our roads, bridges and tunnels, the gas tax increase is the only logical way to accomplish what needs to be done, and have out of state users share in the pain. I applaud Speaker Prieto for taking a leadership position on this issue, something our governor has failed to do.

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