State will not increase gas tax before end of 2005

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:55

    The state's gasoline tax will not be raised until after the November elections, Acting Gov. Richard Codey said. Codey told Millennium Radio News on Thursday that the 14.5-cent tax could be increased by the end of 2005. The tax, the fifth-lowest in the nation, finances the state's Transportation Trust Fund, which is used to pay for road improvements statewide. ``Clearly the Transportation Trust Fund is something we're going to tackle but we're probably, obviously going to do it in lame duck,'' he told the radio station. Codey, who has not decided whether to seek a full four-year term as governor, said he does not want to raise any taxes _ including the income or sales taxes _ during a politically sensitive time. ``The reality is we'll tackle that problem this time next year, and I'm sure we'll come up with a solution to revamp the Transportation Trust Fund,'' he said. All 80 Assembly seats and the governor's office are up for re-election in November. A recent poll showed a majority of New Jersey mayors favor increasing the gas tax as a way to pay for transportation projects. Bill Dressel, executive director of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities said he has no problem with Codey's call for a delay, as long as money for road work projects keeps flowing. ``If there is enough money in local aid to maintain the same level of funding we've enjoyed over the past several years, then I would say, ‘Yeah, we've got until November,''' he told The Press of Atlantic City for Friday's newspapers. ``Mayors are sensitive to the political realities.'' Former Gov. James E. McGreevey briefly considered raising the gas tax a year ago, then decided against it when Republicans vowed to oppose such a hike. A panel McGreevey appointed to examine the Transportation Trust Fund recommended a 12.5-cent gas tax increase and warned the fund would expire by June 30, 2004. The panel estimated the state needs $49 billion for the next decade to fund transportation projects. Given prior predictions, Dressel said it is hard to tell when the fund will run out of money. ``We're going to be extremely upset if we have to reach into pockets of taxpayers to pay for infrastructure,'' he said.