- April 14, 2014
- New Jersey Policy Perspective
- David Rousseau and Gordon MacInnes
In order for its economy to remain competitive, New Jersey needs a state-of-the-art transportation network and must be willing to make the investments this requires. With the funding needed to restore this essential but deteriorating lifeline about tapped out, policymakers must act with urgency to reverse a steady decline. After years of avoiding this problem – settling at best for temporary, inadequate measures – New Jersey needs bold action to fix its transportation system.
To maintain and improve the state’s roads, bridges and mass transit systems, as well as to begin projects critical to our future, New Jersey should increase funding for the state Transportation Trust Fund – which has stagnated for a decade – by 25 percent for the next 10 years, up to $20 billion over the decade from $16 billion. To do so, the most sensible option is to extend the state’s 7 percent sales tax to gasoline. Based on current gas prices of approximately $3.50 per gallon, the imposition of the sales tax would be the equivalent of a 24.5-cent-per-gallon increase.
This would not only help put the Transportation Trust Fund on solid footing, but it would also prevent the resources generated from the present gas tax from losing their purchasing power over time, jeopardizing the very transportation system the money is supposed to preserve.