The New Jersey Gasoline-Convenience-Automotive Association opposes a bill to increase New Jersey's gas tax by five cents a year for three years.

 

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NJGCA executive director Sal Risalvato said among other things, gasoline retailers will have to bear the burden of paying the tax up front, because it's paid for at the refinery.

"So a 20-cent-a-gallon increase equates to $1,700 more in the cost of a load of gasoline," Risalvato said.

He added that it would discourage customers from border states from coming to New Jersey for cheaper gas.

"If you want to know how this will hurt my members who are operating retail facilities on the borders, it would be tremendous," Risalvato said. "There would be no incentive for out-of-staters to cross the border, make their purchase in New Jersey and go back to the neighboring state."

The gas tax measure was recently introduced by state Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Union), who believes it's the state's only real choice in helping to shore up the Transportation Trust Fund, and preventing New Jersey from missing out on federal matching grants for infrastructure repairs.

"It's important to understand why the current gas tax isn't getting the job done," Risalvato said. "It's not getting the job done because money that's already in the Transportation Trust Fund was raided by previous governors and previous legislatures."

Even if this bill promises to constitutionally dedicate the gas tax funds exclusively to transportation projects, "there's not a lot of trust in the trust fund, and money can be used for other purposes as well -- even if there's a sequestration or a lockbox mechanism," Risalvato said.