NJ says YES on 2: Voters appear to support gas-tax ballot question
Although there are still many votes that haven't been counted, preliminary results show that New Jersey voters have given their stamp of approval to a state Constitutional amendment asking voters to guarantee that all gas tax revenues be used to fund transportation projects in the state.
As of late Tuesday evening, early results showed a decisive lead among supporters of Ballot Question 2 with nearly 54 percent voting in favor of the measure and 46 rejecting it. Approximately 2.4 million votes have been counted as of about 11:15 p.m.
Results show that voters in Central Jersey and the Jersey Shore cast the majority of the "no" votes, while the question garnered the most support in North Jersey, especially Bergen and Essex counties.
“I want to thank the voters of New Jersey for doing the right thing tonight," Robert Briant, Jr., CEO of the Utility and Transportation Contractors Association, said in a statement issued Tuesday night. "By saying yes to Question No. 2, they have provided a lock-box that will prevent $1 billion a year in transportation funding from being spent elsewhere. Our state finally has the long-term and dedicated source of funding we have sorely needed for a long time.
"Now that we have it, it is time to get to work fixing and improving our infrastructure.”
Nearly a year ago, the Legislature voted almost unanimously to include the question on the ballot. In recent months, however, the amendment had been a point of contention among lawmakers, with even the governor and lieutenant governor falling on opposite sides of the fence.
New Jersey 101.5’s Bill Spadea and his #VoteNoOnTwo campaign can take some credit for part of this resistance. During an appearance on Spadea's show, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno made the break from Christie by announcing her opposition to the ballot measure.
Approval of the ballot question doesn't prevent legislators from using borrowed funds for other projects, according to most critics. Although the money collected from the gas tax must be dedicated to transportation initiatives, any funds borrowed against the projected revenue from the tax, do not have to be dedicated to roads.
The borrowing is not mentioned in the text of the question on the ballot, but it’s written in the gas tax law.
Ballot Question No. 2 vote totals (unofficial results, most districts reporting, as of 1 a.m. Wednesday)
Michael Symons contributed to this report.
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.