Prieto wants voters to decide if fuel tax revenue should go to transportation fund

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Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) has introduced a bill that would allow New Jersey residents to decide, via a ballot question, if all of the revenue from the state fuel tax should go towards the Transportation Trust Fund. 

Vincent Prieto

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Prieto, a longtime proponent of replenishing the state’s depleted Transportation Trust Fund – which is mainly used to repair and maintain roads and bridges – is proposing a ballot question for voters to allow them to decide if this is a viable solution.

On July 1, 2016, the fund is expected to be completely depleted.

“Unfortunately no agreement has been reached, but it’s important that voters be given the chance to dedicate all money raised by these taxes to transportation needs,” Prieto said in a statement.

“Taxpayers must be confident every cent raised by these taxes goes to the right purpose – rebuilding and maintaining our roads and bridges. This is something we can all agree upon.”

The proposed constitutional amendment (ACR-1) ensures all the revenue from the gas taxes goes to the Transportation Trust Fund and would not raise the current fuel taxes.

New Jersey imposes a 10.5 cent per gallon tax on the sale of gasoline and a 13.5 cent per gallon tax on diesel fuel.

The full amount of the gasoline tax is already dedicated to transportation, while 10.5 cents of the diesel tax also goes to the transportation fund.

Prieto’s proposed amendment would include the 3 cents of the diesel tax that is not currently dedicated.

If the taxes are increased in the future, the amendment dedicates the increased revenues that would result from the tax increase to the trust fund.

Additionally, the proposal would also dedicate all of the revenue from the tax on gross receipts of the sale of petroleum products to the Transportation Trust Fund.

“New Jersey drivers want to know every cent they pay in taxes at the pump is being used appropriately,” Prieto added. “This gives them that assurance, and strengthens any future effort to ensure we have enough transportation funding to keep our state strong.”

Prieto said discussions to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund remain ongoing, but said the ballot question, on its own, is a necessity.