Gov. Chris Christie today said he won’t put tolls on roads that do not have them now because the state’s residents already are overtaxed. He also ruled out increasing highway tolls or the gas tax to help solve New Jersey’s budget problems. “I don’t favor tolls on roads where we don’t currently have them, and I do not favor and will not sign an increase in the gas tax. When people are struggling — that is not the time to raise taxes and fees,” Christie told reporters during a Statehouse press conference today.
Christie’s transition team on transportation suggested he consider adding tolls on some roads — such as Routes 195, 295, 287 and 80 — to pay for upkeep. It also recommended putting a gas tax increase to a public vote.
The governor faces money woes at every turn. He estimates the state budget deficit for next year at $11 billion, on top of a $1 billion shortfall in the current budget.
Christie said that while he doesn’t agree with the transition report’s recommendations on this front, he appreciated their ideas and candor, noting that he gave all transition committee “wide latitude” to explore “any ideas that are feasible.”
Christie said dealing with the fund will have to wait while he figures out how to plug the hole in the current state budget. The Transportation Trust Fund will run out of money for new projects in less than 18 months. Star Ledger