In New Jersey, drivers had often boasted about how cheap the gas rates are in their state. The prices at the pump are among the lowest in United States. It is so low that even thrifty motorists who pass through often pull off at a New Jersey pump station to fill up. New Jersey had been enjoying such low gas prices due to the relatively modest taxes on gas.
The transit riders in New Jersey are preparing themselves to pay higher transport fares for the very first time in the last half decade. However, there is a bigger battle that looms over the transporting funding as the transport agency at New Jersey faces the threat of losing a handsome subsidy and the labor costs are expected to be steeper in the coming days.
Justifications for increasing tax on gas
All that inexpensive gas rates are actually real costs. Since tax revenues from gas are used to pay for public transit programs and roads, the low tax till date has meant roads with potholes, deteriorating bridges and higher fares for transit that have pinched the working families.
There are some assemblymen in New Jersey who believe that new revenue is badly needed. It is an unpleasant fact though that the most constructive way of procuring revenue is through imposition of gas tax. The government can raise taxes on other heads but then they have to be raised to very high levels and only then it can expect of coming close to the kind of revenue that can be raised through imposing a gas tax in New Jersey.
About 36% of the bridges in New Jersey are either rated as structurally deficient or obsolete by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Over 65% of the roads are considered in mediocre or poor condition. The poor road conditions can cost a lot of money for the drivers. The engineers claim that about $600 in a year needs to be spent on additional maintenance of the vehicles to keep the cars in running conditions on the road.
Moreover, there has been increasing pressure from New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund for years which receives a lion’s portion of its money from the gas tax to fund for repairing the roads.
A cautioned approach
There has been lot of cautions as far as the government is concerned as in the past such hike in gas taxes has resulted in reversal of political fate in states like Pennsylvania. Thus, debates on funding of transportation and gas taxes have been heating up in New Jersey.