by KYW’s David Madden
TRENTON, NJ (CBS) — New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund is set to run out of money within a few weeks. One state legislator is offering up a plan to replenish the fund without increasing the state gasoline tax.
Poll after poll has shown majorities of New Jersey drivers in opposition to increasing one of the lowest gas tax rates in America.
Monmouth County Republican State Senator Jennifer Beck says her 7 year plan would put 1.6 billion dollars a year into the TTF, and leave the gas tax alone.
To do that, she anticipates 3% annual state growth. And they’re going to have to bite the bullet in Trenton.
“It calls on the legislature to make a couple of reforms to free up new revenue,” Beck told KYW Newsradio, “and then it also calls on us to have the fortitude to start setting aside new revenues each year to help fund the transportation projects.”
Among the reforms would be consolidating several transportation agencies into one, a move other states have taken to reduce costs. Another idea is likely to be rejected by organized labor in the Garden State.
“We also do significant reform to health benefits for public employees,” she said. “Not just state employees but also, by the way, local and school employees.”
Beck insists her plan is the only one with specifics now under consideration, although a lot of quiet talk in Trenton has centered on hiking the tax by 20 to 40 cents a gallon.
She’s hoping drivers will sign an online petition to bolster her proposal with colleagues in the legislature.
The petition can be found at http://www.SenateNJ.com/nogastax.