Robbing Peter to pay Paul: turnpike toll hike pays for parkway building project

| Friday, April 12, 2002

For years, the Garden State Parkway has grappled with how to build a new span for the Alfred E. Driscoll Bridge over the Raritan River without raising tolls on the parkway, according to a Newark Star-Ledger report. Problem solved: Raise tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike and use the extra money for the Parkway's big project.

Gov. James McGreevey has arranged for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to pay $135 million to help the Garden State Parkway build the new bridge span. The turnpike has the money since it increased tolls in 2000, and will increase tolls again in 2003. The state justifies using turnpike money on the parkway project since about a quarter of the vehicles on the bridge are traveling to or from the turnpike. The $125 million would cover most of the $175 million price tag for the project with construction beginning this summer and being completed in 2005, the report said. Additionally, the parkway has planned a second phase project to rebuild the existing 48-year-old bridge. Both phases will result in two bridges that carry eight lanes of northbound and seven lanes of southbound traffic. The second phase project will cost $50 million.

Maybe the 2003 toll hike on the turnpike will pay for this Parkway project, too?

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