Raising N.J. gas tax can have financial, political drawbacks –

Even as gas prices nationwide continue to drop, hitting the lowest average tabs Americans have seen since 2010 — New Jersey continues to maintain its advantage. Average prices here hovered around $2.76 a gallon last week, 17 cents lower than the national average and more than 50 cents cheaper than New York’s.

The biggest reason for New Jersey’s resilient price advantage: The motor fuels tax, which at 10.5 cents a gallon, is the nation’s second lowest. The closest nearby price competitor is Delaware, where the gas tax is more than double at 23 cents. New Jersey’s other neighbors — Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York — charge gas taxes that are four or five times higher.

But pressure on New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund, which gets a large portion of its money from the gas tax to fund road repairs, has been growing for years. It reached a crescendo under Governor Christie, who took office to find that virtually no capital was available to fund road projects. Instead, the bulk of the money in the trust fund goes to pay debt, not fix roads.

Christie has relied on a number of tactics to find the cash needed to keep construction vehicles working on New Jersey highways — and avoid raising the tax.

Tolls have been raised on the New Jersey Turnpike, and the money has been used to fund projects throughout the state. For instance, toll increases on the turnpike have been used to pay for road projects and to prop up NJ Transit.

And a train tunnel project under the Hudson River was canceled and part of its funding — $1.8 billion — redirected

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Christie has relied on a number of tactics to find the cash needed to keep construction vehicles working on New Jersey highways — and avoid raising the tax.

from the Port Authority to rebuild the Pulaski Skyway and complete several other projects. The federal Securities and Exchange Commission and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office began probing the deal after a report in The Record showed that Port Authority officials were concerned that providing the funding to New Jersey was outside the agency’s mandated mission. The probes are ongoing.

Those mov

via Raising N.J. gas tax can have financial, political drawbacks – News – NorthJersey.com.

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