TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has defended signing a gas tax increase saying that he didn’t want to raise it but had no choice.

Christie made his first remarks since approving the 23-cent per gallon hike last Friday at a town hall on education funding in New Providence Tuesday.

The tax is expected to generate approximately $1.23 billion in annual revenue to replenish the state’s transportation fund.

Christie says this is the first tax increase he’s ever signed or ever will sign as governor.

Following negotiations with Democrats controlling the state Legislature, the Republican governor agreed to the gas tax increase in exchange for cutting the estate tax and lowering the sales tax.

Christie said he “did the right thing” and deserves credit for the cuts he received in return.