Transportation, GOVERNMENT THAT WORKS
NJ Spotlight: Toll-Hike Plan for Turnpike, Parkway Gets Mixed Reviews
by John Reitmeyer
A plan to hike tolls on both the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike to help fund a $24 billion highway expansion and maintenance campaign received vocal support from organized labor and the construction industry during public hearings held Wednesday.
But others who did not attend the hearings — which were held despite an ongoing state of emergency ordered statewide amid the coronavirus outbreak — raised several concerns about a plan to raise tolls across all vehicle classes by 36% for the turnpike and 27% for the parkway.
Critics, including a prospective Republican gubernatorial candidate in 2021, questioned holding the hearings during the health care emergency.
They also suggested attendance among the general public was likely depressed by statements Gov. Phil Murphy has been making about residents needing to stay home as much as possible during the outbreak. President Donald Trump has also asked that any gatherings be no larger than 10 people at a time.
In all, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA) toll-hike proposal calls for as much as $24 billion in spending over 15 to 20 years, dwarfing the $7 billion capital program that the agency has been working under for roughly the past decade.
The agency, which operates both toll roads, last raised tolls about a decade ago.
Read the full report here.