TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s gas tax will be dedicated to transportation funding after voters supported Question 2 on Tuesday, delivering a blow to Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who rallied against the referendum to protest a recent 23-cent-gallon increase in the tax.
Guadagno and radio station New Jersey 101.5 FM had mounted a campaign to beat the question, arguing lawmakers and Republican Gov. Chris Christie would be forced to reconsider the gas tax hike and scrap plans to borrow $12 billion over eight years.
“The ‘yes’ result on ballot question 2 means that perhaps we didn’t reach enough people, or make enough noise about the fact that a ‘yes’ was tantamount to giving four hand-picked Trenton political insiders unfettered discretion to borrow and spend $12 billion,” Guadagno said in a statement.
“But, to paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt: the victory belongs to us, those in the arena, who fought for a worthy cause and to us, who dared greatly, to bring this deception into the light,” she said.
The ballot question asked whether all the money from the state’s recently raised gas tax should go to transportation. Guadagno bucked Christie, who supported dedicating the tax.
Opponents had argued that a no vote would choke off borrowing needed for the transportation trust fund, which would require legislators to reconsider the gas tax hike. Legislative leaders and the Christie administration said that was not true and that the borrowing authority already was authorized.
Had voters said no, gas tax revenue would have gone to the general fund and future lawmakers and governors could have used it to plug budget holes.
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