Nearly 80 percent of New Jersey voters believe air pollution is a serious problem. Seventy percent have the same opinion on climate change.

And the majority think a modernization of the state's transportation system can put a sizable dent in the problem, according to a poll released Wednesday.

In the survey conducted by Public Policy Polling on behalf of the environmentally-focused Sierra Club, 74 percent of New Jerseyans said they either strongly or somewhat support their state taking action to reduce air pollution from cars and trucks by investing in a more efficient transportation system and relying more on mass transit and electric vehicles.

Forty-eight percent of respondents believe cars and trucks contribute to air pollution "a great deal."

The poll addressed the same questions to residents of 11 states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, plus the District of Columbia.

"I think we can all agree that no one wants to breathe in the toxic stew of chemicals that our cars are belching out every single day," Nick Sifuentes, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, said during a teleconference with reporters. "The reality is we're not being serious about solving our transportation crisis."

Addressing the Garden State specifically, Sifuentes said NJ Transit is "woefully underfunded" and in a "dire state of disrepair."

Gov. Phil Murphy and the state Legislature are currently at odds over how much money should be allocated to the agency in the fiscal year 2019 budget, and how that money should be raised.

The multi-state results of the poll are quite similar to New Jersey's. Seventy-four percent of respondents overall agree that modernizing the transportation system would reduce air pollution, improve health and reduce climate impacts.


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