TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Parker Space wants to stop the push for a mileage-based tax on New Jersey drivers being floated by Gov. Phil Murphy and out-of-state bureaucrats. He plans to introduce legislation that would not only prohibit that tax but also bar the state from funding mileage-based tax studies or pilots.
Motor fuel taxes provide most of the funding for our transportation infrastructure construction and maintenance, and the financing is administered by Transportation Trust Fund Authority. In February, the governor signed an executive order that requires all new cars and light duty truck sales be zero-emissions vehicles by 2035. The burgeoning demand for electric vehicles, partly fueled by generous federal and state tax incentives, could force states to find new ways to fund the maintenance of their highways and bridges as demand for fuel plummets.
“I definitely do not support eliminating gas and diesel-fueled cars and his actions will either be overturned in court or reversed by a new Governor,” Space (R-Sussex) said. “On top of it, electric vehicle owners get tax credits, don’t pay sales tax on their vehicle purchases, and don’t contribute to the Transportation Trust Fund. It’s time to end taxpayer subsidies for EVs.”
There were 91,000 EVs registered in the state as of December 2022, up from 80,000 registered last June. There are 6 million registered vehicles in total.
Last year, the Eastern Transportation Coalition – a group comprising departments of transportation from 17 states and the District of Columbia – piloted a mileage-based user fee program, funded by a U.S. Department of Transportation grant. The pilot, which launched in June 2022 and concluded that October, collected information and feedback on how drivers would be impacted paying a tax per mile rather than per gallon. An event data recorder, the infamous black box, tracks mileage. The results have not been publicly released.
Space expressed concerns that liberal administrations would force all vehicle owners to eventually be forced to install black boxes into their vehicles, opening drivers up to privacy violations, even if their scheme to ban gas and diesel-powered motor vehicles fail.
“This issue is larger than taxes. The people are not being represented. The Murphy administration thinks executive orders can take the place of legislation,” Space said. “If they can get away with banning our cars, they will try to get away with implementing black boxes with a stroke of a pen. But since 2018, we’ve seen how the laws and traditions of our representative republic have been ignored in New Jersey in the name of whatever emergency is foisted upon us. It needs to stop.”