NJ votes ‘yes’ on gas tax spending to spur infrastructure investment; Atlantic City takeover imminent after ‘no’ to casinos

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CRANFORD, N.J. — New Jersey voters were nearly split, but ultimately decided that the 23-cent gas tax increase should go towards transportation projects solely. The vote will also allow for $12 billion in borrowing.

“Without transportation we can’t get around,” said Jack Turner, a commuter waiting for the train in Cranford, New Jersey.

The Cranford train station is one project that will benefit immediately from a healthier state transportation fund. It’s already slotted to receive $6.6 million in rehabilitation.

The platform where commuters wait is cracking and needs reinforcement, while the roof overhead needs to be repaired. This project was one of many that Governor Christie froze, as he and lawmakers feuded over whether to raise the gas tax this summer.

A deal was eventually made, and one bill in the package Christie signed included $12 billion in borrowing, but it was contingent on yesterday’s gas tax ballot question. That part was not stated in the question, but voters passed the measure, 54 percent to 46 percent.

“We need money for that,” added Turner.

The extra pennies you are now spending at the pump will add up to $1.16 billion dollars a year for New Jersey transportation projects. Hundreds of millions will be spent on new buses and trains for NJ Transit, new fare collection systems, on bridge repairs, on the parkway and on highways.

“The roads, they need to fix,” added Turner. “Definitely. Potholes in the street, in your car when you drive on it, it’s ridiculous.”

Voters also overwhelmingly disapproved of the first ballot question: do you want casinos in North Jersey? That was struck down, 78 percent to 22 percent. This afternoon the state moved to take over Atlantic City’s struggling finances.