Now's as good a time as any to fill up your tanks.
Starting Oct. 1, the state treasury will hike the gas tax by 4.3 cents per gallon, bringing the total price out of pocket to 26.9 cents a gallon.
Under the 2016 law authorizing a 23-cent gas-tax hike to fund the Transportation Trust Fund, the state is able to increase the rate in order to meet revenue targets, said New Jersey Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio.
New Jersey’s TTF is required to provide $16 billion over eight years to fund “critical infrastructure improvements to the state’s roadways and bridges,” the treasury said.
In 2017, gas consumption declined and the state missed its revenue target by $42.6 million, but the Christie administration didn’t enact an increase, the treasury said.
Then in 2018, the state missed its target by another $125.2 million, which, by law, triggered the increase, according to Muoio.
By the end of the 2019 fiscal year, the state will need to have raised $2.073 billion through the gas tax, she said.
“The precise change in the gas tax rate is dictated by several factors, all of which are beyond the control of the current administration,” Muoio said in a prepared statement. “Unfortunately, because the Christie administration overestimated gas consumption rates last year, the tax rate has to be increased by nearly two cents more this year in order for us to meet our obligation under the statute and fully fund the state’s many pressing transportation infrastructure needs.”
Treasury and legislative budget officials convene in August following the end of the prior budget year to determine how much the TTF drew into its coffers.
If the state doesn’t meet its targets then the cap has to be raised, Muoio said. If the state draws in more money than required under the 2016 law, the gas tax can be lowered to account for the surplus.