ALEXANDRIA, Va.—With New Jersey’s announcement that the gasoline tax will remain 41.4 cents per gallon, Garden State drivers can sleep easy knowing they won’t be asked to shell out extra money at the pump. The tax for diesel fuel also will remain at 48.4 cents per gallon. With New Jersey having the 11th highest gasoline tax in the country, behind New York, California and Pennsylvania, fuel prices are often a concern for residents.
NorthJersey.com says the state is required to pump $16 billion over eight years under the Transportation Trust Fund, which pays for infrastructure like roads and bridges. New Jersey additionally has to pay about $2 billion a year into the fund to keep it properly filled, according to a 2016 law signed by former Republican Gov. Chris Christie. Since then, the fund has distributed $4.34 billion to local, county and state infrastructure projects, including NJ Transit.
"We’re pleased that fuel consumption levels, coupled with our realistic projections last year, have allowed us to avoid an increase in the gas tax rate for this year,” state Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio said in a press release. “This dedicated revenue stream has enabled us to disburse billions in funding across the state to bolster our transportation infrastructure and keep New Jersey moving forward.”
Last year, the tax went up 4.3 cents a gallon to make up for the year prior, as well as a decline in gasoline consumption. The Christie administration overestimated how much gas drivers would use and didn’t increase the tax, forcing Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration to invoke an increase.
In 2016, lawmakers increased New Jersey's gas tax by 23 cents to save the Transportation Trust Fund and move infrastructure projects along. According to NorthJersey.com, the law revived the fund for eight years and included language that would automatically increase the gas tax using a formula if the state didn't hit the $2 billion needed each year to fill the fund.
“Strong, modern and safe infrastructure is at the heart of our vision,” stated Gov. Murphy. With the state on track to meet the $16 billion in funds over the next eight years to meet that vision, it will also avoid a tax raise too.