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June 30, 2016

No vote on gas hike set in New Jersey senate

Lack of action means no money to transportation projects

The New Jersey senate balked Thursday to vote on a bill that would have raised the gas tax and cut the sales tax, according to a state senator from South Jersey.

Sen. James Whelan said there is no consensus on the tax measure among his colleagues, who are working on alternatives to the 23 cents a gallon hike approved by the assembly earlier in the week.

Gov. Chris Christie, who is under consideration as Donald Trump's running mate in the Republican presidential stakes, has been vocal in his support of the assembly bill, which he brokered with the support of Democrats in the lower house.

Related story: N.J lawmakers propose 23-cent per gallon tax to fund transportation projects

The legislation would have raised the gas tax to 37.5 cents a gallon from 14.5 cents and cut the sales tax from 7 percent to 6 percent, among other changes in taxes.

The tax changes were tied to an effort to extend funding for the state transportation trust fund's borrowing authority, which runs out on Friday.

Whelan, D-Atlantic, said the decision to not act was "frustrating" because it means the state's transportation funds are empty as of Friday. But he expresses hopes a compromise will soon be acted on.