Gas tax increase gaining support in New Jersey

 Traffic moves along Route 21 in downtown Newark, New Jersey, in January where a gas station listed the cash price for regular unleaded at $1.72. New Jersey voters polled by Quinnipiac are showing support for an increase in the state's gas tax. (AP file photo)

Traffic moves along Route 21 in downtown Newark, New Jersey, in January where a gas station listed the cash price for regular unleaded at $1.72. New Jersey voters polled by Quinnipiac are showing support for an increase in the state's gas tax. (AP file photo)

For the first time, voter support for a gas tax increase in New Jersey exceeds opposition to the idea.

Fifty percent of New Jersey voters surveyed by Quinnipiac University now say they favor a gas tax hike while 47 percent don’t want it.

That’s quite a reversal from the 62 percent who opposed it in January, said pollster Maurice Carroll.

Warnings from politicians about the need to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund, which finances road and mass transit improvements throughout the state, are making a difference, he said.

“The idea that there has to be an answer seems to have penetrated,” Carroll said. “It’s unusual in a sense … you say, ‘Do people listen to politicians?’ Well in this case, they’re doing it.”

By a two-to-one margin New Jersey voters also support raising taxes on the state’s wealthiest residents to help fund public employee pensions.

That’s not likely to happen; Gov. Chris Christie is adamant that he will veto any such “millionaires’ tax.”

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