Time for a Gas Tax Increase? No Way, NJ Residents Say
An increase in New Jersey's gas tax, currently the second lowest in the country, is not supported by the majority of residents in a new Rutgers-Eagleton poll finds.
According to the poll, 57 percent≠ of those surveyed oppose the increase, a number that goes up to 66 percent when responders are told the increase would cost the average driver about 50 cents more per day — or $180 annually. Opposition continues at the same level even if told the revenue would be dedicated entirely to paying for road maintenance and improvement and other transportation costs.
Gov. Chris Christie (R)'s proposal that would tie any gas tax increase with a cut in real estate and inheritance taxes also gets little support, with 44 percent still opposed, 31 percent in favor and 10 percent unsure.
“New Jerseyans have remained adamant in their opposition to a gas tax hike over the past 18 months, even as news continues about a near-broke Transportation Trust Fund and the need for many important repairs to the state’s transportation infrastructure,” said Ashley Koning, assistant director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University. “New Jerseyans agree more money is needed for this upkeep, but even when told specifically how the extra revenue would be used, they do not want it coming out of their own pockets.”
New Jersey's state gas tax stands at 14 cents per gallon. All states collect another 18 cents per gallon in federal taxes.
The telephone survey of 835 adults has a sampling error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
State Senate President Steve Sweeney (D), considering a run for governor, announced plans on Monday for an investment plan that Democrats believe will boost the state's economy and includes a gas tax increase.
“There’s no free roads or free bridges and if you know of any I’ll get somebody to buy them off of you,” Sweeney said. “There’s going to be, whether it’s going to be a gas tax or sales tax (increase), there’s going to be some coming.”