USA Today — Washington and Maryland will hike their gas taxes Friday — and New Jersey could approve a big hike this week — as travel-industry experts project the lowest gas prices in a decade and record travelers on the road for the Independence Day holiday.
The New Jersey Assembly approved a 23-cent per gallon hike Tuesday. The state Senate will consider the proposal this week. Gov. Chris Christie said he hopes to sign the legislation, which would also reduce the state sales tax from 7% to 6%, by Thursday.
The gas tax, which had been among the country’s lowest, would reach 37.5 cents per gallon. Christie said the legislative package would provide the first statewide tax reduction since 1994, while still boosting dedicated funding for roads, bridges and transit systems. “It seems like a fairly powerful combination to me,” Christie told reporters.
Tracy Noble, spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said the hike is large, but necessary to repair roads and bridges that deteriorated during the 28 years since the state’s last gas-tax increase. The state’s transportation trust fund is set to run out of money at the end of Thursday without a remedy, she said. “A 23-cent hike in the gas tax is a lot to happen all at one time,” Noble said. “Unfortunately, our roads and bridges are in dire need of repair.”
Three states will cut their rates. California’s rate drops 2.2 cents – the third cut in as many years – to leave a rate of 27.8 cents per gallon. Nebraska will reduce its rate 1 cent, to 25.8 cents per gallon. The cut followed an increase Jan. 1 of 0.7 cents per gallon. North Carolina will also cut its rate 1 cent, to 35 cents per gallon.