(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblymen Craig Coughlin and John Wisniewski (both D-Middlesex) exploring ways of capitalizing on the state’s major highways to generate new state revenue without raising taxes cleared its final legislative hurdle on Thursday. The measure was approved by the full Senate, 40-0.
“It’s incumbent upon us to seek creative ways to boost revenue without burdening taxpayers,” said Coughlin. “Our current transportation infrastructure demands that we think outside the box to find new revenue sources to help meet our long-term needs.”
The bill (A-1279) would direct the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to study and prepare a report concerning potential opportunities for increasing current and generating new authority revenue by providing additional services, including, but not limited to, business, commercial, or retail services, at rest areas and service plazas along the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway. The report would identify the types of services that may be offered, the types of businesses that may be involved, how the services may be managed, and the role of the authority in offering these new services.
“Finding new revenue sources without raising taxes is crucial, particularly in an economy like this,” said Wisniewski. “When you factor in the administration’s decision to divert toll revenue to pay for the Transportation Trust Fund, it becomes even more critical that we think explore every avenue to find alternative revenue sources to help fund our crucial transportation needs.”
The sponsors proposed the legislation in response to a recommendation in the report issued by the New Jersey Privatization Task Force in May of 2010, which indicated that there are numerous revenue generating opportunities for the Turnpike Authority to explore. If enacted, it would be effective immediately and the Turnpike Authority would have 6- 12 months to submit a report to the Governor and Legislature.
The bill will now go to the Governor’s desk for further consideration.