Some transportation advocates call for increase in gas tax

TRENTON – Transportation advocates called Thursday for  establishing a long-term funding resource to fix roads and bridges, and maintain a strong transportation network.

N.J. Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel said he supports increasing the gasoline tax, a move backed by some lawmakers such as Assemblyman John Wisniewski, (D-19), of Sayreville and Sean Kean (R-11) of Wall .  However, there isn’t any bill being proposed, and Gov. Chris Christie has long opposed such a move.

“We need to come up with a long-term solution to our transportation needs,” Tittel said at the Assembly Budget Committee transportation roundtable. “There’s no way around it.”

Janna Chernetz of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign also said a gas tax hike should be considered.

“Without having identified new revenue sources, such as an increase in the gas tax, it is difficult to ascertain where additional revenue will come from,” Chernetz said.  

However, Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Lou Greenwald, (D-6), of Voorhees, said he didn’t believe raising the gas tax is such a good idea.

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, (R-12), of Little Silver, also said raising the gas tax is not a good idea, calling it “a horrible, regressive tax” that would unfairly target people of “less means.”

“That’s not true,” Tittel said. “The people of less means don’t have a car. They take mass transit.”

Assemblywoman Joan Quigley, (D-32), Jersey City, said there needs to be more honesty about the gas tax, especially given that many roads are in dire condition.

“Let’s not say an extra 2 or 3 cents (per gallon) is going to kill them,” she said.

Assemblyman Gary Schaer, (D-36), Passaic had also called the gas tax regressive.

The gas tax in N.J. is 14.5 cents per gallon, one of the lowest in the nation. Some transportation advocates call for increase in gas tax