- Associated Press - Friday, December 11, 2015

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto wants New Jersey voters to weigh in on whether the state’s gas taxes should be used only for transportation projects.

While some of the revenue from gas taxes already is used for road and bridge work, a portion is not specifically dedicated for transportation, and Prieto wants to ensure those funds are not used to address other state problems.

He introduced a measure Friday that asks voters to approve a constitutional amendment that would mandate that every penny of gas taxes goes for transportation projects. The measure would not raise taxes.

Currently, the state’s 10.5-cent gas tax is required to be used for transportation. But there is no mandate on how to use revenue from a separate 4-cent tax on petroleum products. Prieto’s proposal also would require that the full 13.5-cent diesel tax is used only for transportation as well. Three cents of it currently is not specifically required to go toward transportation.

The proposal comes as the Democrat-controlled Legislature and Republican governor and presidential candidate Chris Christie wrangle over how to shore up the state’s transportation trust fund. Democrats say they back raising the state’s gas tax, but Christie has said Republicans should oppose such a hike unless other taxes are cut.



Prieto said the measure also would apply to any future hikes in the state’s gas taxes.

“Unfortunately no agreement has been reached, but it’s important that voters be given the chance to dedicate all money raised by these taxes to transportation needs,” Prieto said.

New Jersey has the second-lowest gas taxes in the nation after Alaska.

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This story has been corrected to show that the proposal seeks to require the full 13.5-cent diesel tax, not a 3-cent portion of it, be used only for transportation.

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