NJ leaders huddle on replenishing Transportation Trust Fund

 Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

The Democratic leaders of New Jersey’s legislature say one of their top priorities in the year ahead will be replenishing the Transportation Trust Fund.

There’s no good alternative to raising New Jersey’s gas tax to pay for road and bridge repairs, said Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto.

“If you have every cent that is coming in in the current structure allocated to paying down the debt, then it’s not feasible to do it without borrowing or raising a tax,” he said.

Prieto, D-Hudson, said he’d like funds for transportation projects to be constitutionally dedicated for that purpose.

Senate President Steve Sweeney said that’s sound.

“That’s where I think the public really is offended … you know, they get tired of money being raised for a certain subject and then being utilized for a different one,” he said.

Legislative leaders and Gov. Chris Christie will have to reach an agreement to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund.

The recent drop in gasoline prices probably won’t make residents more receptive to increasing the gas tax, Seeney said.

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