New Jersey tax group criticizes governor’s tolling plan

| 1/11/2008

A taxpayer advocacy group in New Jersey says it has serious concerns about Gov. Jon Corzine’s plan to drastically increase the tolls on three state toll roads and convert a state route into a toll road.

Officials with the group Save Our Assets says a $2 toll could easily increase to more than $15 during a 14-year period when adjusted for inflation. Group officials also say that people who live and work along the toll roads will be the hardest hit.

“Our concerns lie in the facts that Gov. Corzine is proposing a road tax that will result in much higher costs to businesses, taxpayers and commuters,” Save Our Assets officials state on their Web site, “We are asking Governor Corzine and the New Jersey Legislature not to put our future in debt.”

Corzine’s proposal, made public on Tuesday, Jan. 8, calls for the creation of a new state corporation that will issue up to $40 billion in bonds borrowed against the value of the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, Atlantic City Expressway and a yet-to-be-tolled portion of state Route 440.

Toll increases of 50 percent every four years from 2010 through 2022 would be used to pay off state debts including those not related to transportation.

The action will mean significantly higher tolls for commercial trucks that will result in higher prices at the stores, Save Our Assets officials said.

Meanwhile, Gov. Corzine said commuters on the toll roads will probably be offered some kind of relief – but he didn’t spell out who would get breaks on the tolls or how big the breaks might be.

– By Land Line staff