NJ Voters Approve Using Gas Tax for Transportation, Reject Casinos in North - NBC New York
Decision 2016

Decision 2016

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NJ Voters Approve Using Gas Tax for Transportation, Reject Casinos in North

Election Day in New Jersey

People decided on several major issues in New Jersey on Tuesday. NBC10’s Cydney Long checked in with voters as they cast their ballots in Cherry Hill. (Published Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016)

New Jersey voters said yes to a question asking whether every penny of the state's 37.5-cent per gallon gas tax should go exclusively to transportation costs.

The question of creating a so-called constitutional "lockbox" was viewed as a no-brainer by most lawmakers, but Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno came out opposed to the question recently.

She argues a yes vote amounts to a rubber stamp on $12 billion in state borrowing over eight years. The borrowing is part of a deal reached between Republican Gov. Chris Christie and the Democrat-led Legislature to raise the gas tax by 23 cents, cut other taxes and pay for transportation.

The ballot question did not mention the borrowing, which instead is contained in the legislation Christie signed into law.

Meanwhile, voters in New Jersey rejected an attempt to allow casinos at two locations in the northern part of the state. 

The defeat means casino gambling will remain legal only in Atlantic City, where voters approved it in 1976. The question cannot be placed on the ballot again for two years.

The defeat was expected after expansion backers ended a $10 million ad campaign believing that voters were opposed.

It also comes as Atlantic City's casino industry shrinks, thanks in part to the opening of casinos in neighboring states. Five of the city's 12 casinos closed since 2014. The Trump Taj Mahal closed last month.

The referendum didn't specify where the casinos would go. Proposals were floated for the Meadowlands Racetrack, in Jersey City, and Newark.

A group including New York casinos spent $11.3 million against expansion.