New Jersey’s six largest cities will be able to enact a so-called “parking tax” in order to finance pedestrian-access to mass transit projects.
Assembly Bill 5070 allows those cities levy a tax of up to 3.5 percent on out-of-towners using any public or private parking facilities, with the money eligible for projects such as bridges, tunnels and walkways.
Only towns with more than 100,000 residents – of which there are six in the state – could enact the tax: Edison, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Newark, Paterson and Woodbridge fit the mold under the measure, which takes effect immediately.
The new law could mean a massive windfall for Newark and Elizabeth, where Newark Liberty International Airport is located. The airport provides an estimated 17,500 parking spots and is among the most heavily traveled in the United States.
“What this will help in communities is help provide access to mass transit,” said the main sponsor, Assemblywoman Shanique Speight, D-29th District, during a February vote on the measure.
“We have the airport in our community, we have theaters, and we have big corporations. This will help the constituents in my district.”
A5070 allows for a resident discount of up to 8 percent and would exempt parking for private one and two-family homes. And the bill is permissive, meaning cities are not required to enact the tax, nor do they have to go up to 3.5 percent.
But Republicans condemned the measure as another tax and cost of living in the state.
“All of these taxes make New Jersey more unaffordable,” then-Assemblyman Tony Bucco, R-25th District, said after the bill’s passage. “It is going to hurt commuters and tourists who visit the cities. We can’t keep going back to the well. It’s death by a thousand cuts.”