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Poll: 41 percent of voters say NJ air pollution 'very serious' problem

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A significant percentage of New Jersey voters say they consider air pollution resulting from the state’s heavy transportation use to be a “very serious” problem and one the government isn’t doing enough about, according to a new poll conducted on behalf of the Sierra Club.

Forty-one percent of New Jersey voters surveyed by Public Policy Polling said they consider the state’s air pollution problem “very serious.” Forty-five percent said they “strongly support” reducing air pollution from cars and trucks by investing in the transportation system and relying more on fuel-efficient and electric cars and trucks, mass transit and other public transportation options.

And, 45 percent of think state government officials are doing too little to address the problem.

Public Policy Polling conducted a survey of 433 New Jersey residents by phone on May 31 and June 1. The results were released Thursday.

“Today’s poll shows we are not doing enough. We need to encourage more collaboration,” said Nick Sifuentes, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “Fossil fuels contribute to asthma where truck traffic is high. We can agree that no one wants to breathe in the toxic stew of chemicals.

“State governments are not spending enough money to invest in public transit. New Jersey Transit is woefully underfunded. …  We have to transition to electric vehicles. Our region has a moral obligation to reduce pollution. A train is agnostic to your politics.”

Investments in clean-energy technologies should include cleaner buses that enable residents to leave their cars behind, reducing emissions, Sifuentes said.

Those who were surveyed were told current national fuel efficiency standards require that cars manufactured in 2011 or later are required to get an average of 25 miles per gallon, and that by 2025 cars must get 40 miles per gallon.

Forty-eight percent of New Jersey respondents said they strongly favor the auto industry continuing to meet increased fuel efficiency standards for new cars, minivans, SUVs and pickup trucks.

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David Hutter

David Hutter

David Hutter grew up in Darien, Conn., and covers higher education, transportation and manufacturing for NJBIZ. He can be reached at dhutter@njbiz.com.

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