New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine is looking for ways to lower the
state's property tax rates, which are the highest in the U.S.
One way the state could raise money, officials say, is
through the sale or lease of several busy highways - a growing list that now
includes state routes 78, 80 and 95.
Corzine's administration has begun soliciting proposals from
transportation consultants about the possibility of tolling Routes 80, 78 and
95, Pulaski Skyway and Route 440, in addition to the already publicized New
Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Expressway.
The solicited studies are supposed to address the impact
proposed tolled highways could have on regional secondary roads.
New Jersey officials say they are not entirely convinced
that privatization is the way to go, but that the theory is worth studying,
according to a report by The Associated
Meanwhile, the New Jersey Department of Transportation has
proposed limiting heavy truck traffic from secondary roads, with some
A similar push to eliminate big trucks from roads off the
interstate network was shot down in 1999 for being unconstitutional.
The state DOT has proposed restrictions on trucks between 96
and 102 inches wide and those pulling double trailers. If adopted, out-of-state
trucks would have to stay on interstates or major highways except when making
deliveries or pick-ups, or when the driver is looking for food, fuel, repairs,
or a place to rest.
But, unlike the old rules - which were thrown out by the
courts - the new rules would also allow a trucker to use connector routes if
they provided the most direct route to a destination.
Gail Toth, executive director of the New Jersey Motor Truck
Association, told "Land Line Now" on XM Satellite Radio that she helped draft
the proposed rules.
"What they've actually done is given us more roads than were
available in the past," Toth said. "They've created a hierarchy of roads. All
trucks will at least start out on interstates, if at all possible, and then if
they need to go via a direct route to the next location - even if it's another
interstate - they can make that access."
Toth said the proposed rules will be posted Dec. 18 on the
state's register, followed by a 60-day public comment period.
- By David Tanner and
Reed Black, staff writers