Will the gas tax hike shore up New Jersey’s troubled pension system?

That’s the plan, Save Jerseyans.

Smart government?

Or short-sighted self-dealing?

This new bipartisan measure spearheaded by South Jersey legislators from both houses — S2842/A4388 – would permit New Jersey’s newly replenished Transportation Trust Fund to borrow directly from New Jersey pension funds.

Right now, the process unfolds indirectly when bonds are sold to investors.

The legislation doesn’t impose a cap on the borrowing, either, whereas a cap on all bond sales of 10% is currently imposed. Backers of the legislation say benefits would include eliminating costly fees ordinarily associated with these transactions.

Skeptics, on the other hand, say it’s classic Trenton hypocrisy.

“Now, after telling people that we were in crisis and needed the gas tax increase and sneaking more bonding into legislation and a public question, all of the sudden, we have money in the TTF to borrow from the pension fund,” Save Jersey contributor Jordan Chester lamented on social media.

October’s TTF deal, which included a hugely unpopular 23-cent per gallon gas tax hike in addition to the promise of future automatic increases, permits $12 billion in new borrowing over eight years; a whopping 75% of spending will be accomplished with borrowed dollars.

New Jersey’s pension system was recently ranked the country’s weakest with $135.7 billion in unfunded liabilities as of last July.