GOP lawmakers offer alternative to raising NJ gas tax

 New Jersey Sens. Jennifer Beck and Mike Doherty, both Republicans, have offered an alternative to the Democrat's push for increasing the state gas tax. Beck says her  plan would generate $1.6 billion to fund road and mass transit improvements. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

New Jersey Sens. Jennifer Beck and Mike Doherty, both Republicans, have offered an alternative to the Democrat's push for increasing the state gas tax. Beck says her plan would generate $1.6 billion to fund road and mass transit improvements. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Two Republican lawmakers say a gas tax hike is not needed to replenish New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund.

 

State Sen. Jennifer Beck, R-Monmouth, is proposing a seven-year $1.6 billion program to fund road and mass transit improvements without raising what she calls a regressive and burdensome tax.

“There is no need for a new gas tax,” Beck said Monday. “The Legislature and the executive branch can exercise fiscal restraint and implement what I think are some fairly basic cost-savings measures.”

New Jersey has the highest highway costs in the nation, said Sen. Mike Doherty, R-Somerset.

“There’s a mad rush to get more money to the Transportation Trust Fund by increasing the gas tax, but I think we need to look at both sides of the equation,” he said. “We need to look at how we’re spending this money and spend it more carefully.”

The Republicans’ plan would provide money for the nearly empty transportation fund through more borrowing, savings from health care reforms, and projected gains in state revenue including increased fines for texting while driving.

The Legislature’s Democratic leadership has been pushing for an increase in the gas tax, among the lowest in the country, to raise funds for needed bridge and road repairs and maintenance.

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