NJ gov candidates on the gas tax

November 2, 2009 8:11:31 AM PST
In June, 2011, New Jersey's Transportation Trust Fund--which pays for building and repairing roads and bridges in this car-crazy state--will go broke.

The next governor is going to have to decide how to generate enough money to keep critical highway projects going. One solution politicians have avoided for years is to raise the gas tax.

At 14 and a half cents a gallon right now, the Garden State has the 4th lowest gas tax in the country. In this economy, no one wants to talk about raising taxes.

However, two of the candidates for governor say they'd consider it as a last resort.

"I'm not going to let us turn our backs on this, the most densely populated state in the nation. Were not going to turn our backs on the need to make sure the transportation system works. Thats how our economy is driven," said Gov. Jon Corzine.

"I dont think it's responsible to allow our transportation system, which is at the heart of our economy, to deteriorate any further. Would I do it? Yeah, as a last resort. If that's what it took, to do the right thing for the state of New Jersey," said independent Chris Daggett.

Republican Chris Christie doesn't say how he'd pay for road projects, but he's against raising the gas tax to do it.

"We're the heaviest tax burden state in America. We cannot continue to raise the gas tax, all these taxes that Jon Corzine and Chris Daggett want to raise. We simply can't do it, but we have to work hard to pay as we go on transportation projects," said Christie.

The new governor will inherit an estimated $8 billion budget deficit. Juggling that, and infrastructure problems, are just some of the fiscal headaches facing whomever wins on Tuesday.

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