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NJ Senate approves $400M funding for transportation projects

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- The New Jersey Senate on Monday approved $400 million in extra spending for transportation projects this fiscal year.

The Democrat-led chamber approved the supplemental appropriation in a 36-1 vote after Republican Gov. Chris Christie requested the extra spending last month in his annual budget address.

Christie called for funding to pay for road and bridge work in the state's 21 counties. But changes were proposed in the Senate to send a portion of the extra funding to New Jersey Transit as well. The legislation allocates $260 million for roads and bridges and $140 million for NJ Transit.

Lawmakers says the specific projects paid for with the funding would be identified by the Department of Transportation.

Christie's office says the legislation is under review.

Under the bill, the money would come from the state's transportation trust fund, not the state's general fund.

Christie and lawmakers last year agreed to increase the gas tax 23 cents a gallon as part of bigger transportation deal. That agreement cut the state sales tax and phased out the estate tax while boosting a credit for low-income earners.

If approved, the Senate legislation would boost the state's current fiscal year transportation trust fund from $1.6 billion to $2 billion. That's the level Christie and lawmakers set for the fund for the next eight years in the 2016 deal.