Voters OK $125M for libraries, dedicating environmental funds
New Jersey voters have signed off on borrowing $125 million for new library construction, and approved a measure backed by environmentalists to dedicate money from natural resources damages to "repair, restore, replace or preserve" such resources.
Legislative sponsors of the library referendum say 78 percent of libraries across the state are in need of repair.
The bond approval means proceeds from the sale of debt will be used to give grants to public libraries across the state.
The public question voters considered says the money will go to build, equip and expand libraries to increase capacity.
The bond approval contrasts with Republican Gov. Chris Christie's $300 million statehouse renovation, which voters were not asked to consider.
New Jersey voters have approved a referendum requiring settlements from natural resources lawsuits go only toward environmental cleanups.
Lawmakers and supporters of the environmental legislation say it creates a constitutional dedication for the funds that would prevent future governors and lawmakers from using damages for other purposes.
The issue gained traction after Republican Gov. Chris Christie's administration settled a lawsuit with ExxonMobil for $225 million. The settlement came after more than a decade of litigation involving petroleum plants in Bayonne and Linden and gas stations across the state.