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    N.J. Governor Considers Gasoline Tax Hike

    Corzine mulls ways to pay for transportation projects.

    TRENTON, N.J. -- If re-elected, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine said he'd consider raising the state's gasoline tax or diverting money from other programs to support the fund that pays for transportation projects, according to a report by NJ.com.

    Road and mass transit projects in the state cost billions of dollars, while the state's budget shortfall could be as much as $8 billion next year, Corzine said.

    "I'm more than happy to do either one of them, not because I like doing it, but because it's going to be necessary," Corzine said during a meeting with The Record's editorial board.

    Last year, Corzine called an increase to the state's 14.5-cent-per-gallon gas tax "a very, very last resort." New Jersey's tax rate is the fourth lowest in the nation.

    New Jersey's Transportation Trust Fund could run out of money by mid-2011, according to the report. At that point, the toll and gas tax revenue that pays for the program will be required to pay the interest on previously borrowed money.

    Election opponent Chris Christie said he prefers a pay-as-you-go approach to the fund, while candidate Chris Daggett said he would also consider hiking the gas tax and possibly establishing new toll roads.

    "I can't roll back the realities of how we got here in an economic recession, but I think we've taken more aggressive steps to make it shallower and prepare ourselves to exit," Corzine told the editorial board. "And I think I've demonstrated I'm prepared to take on tough problems even though that makes you unpopular, but fundamental challenges that have been longstanding in New Jersey are getting addressed and I will continue to do that."

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