Corzine wants regular toll increases

1/8/2008:

More bad news for your wallet, but possibly good news for NJ’s budget deficit. Hoboken resident, NJ Governor Jon Corzine is seeking to raise tolls 50 percent every four years, starting in 2010.

Before you read on, here’s how it would affect tolls by 2022:

Lincoln Tunnel exit NJ Turnpike (to 495, coming south from N. Jersey):
Now: $1.30; Then: $6.50

Round trip to Atlantic City, from Hoboken (NJ Turnpike/GSP/AC Expressway):
Now:$7.30; Then: over $37.00

By comparison, a corporate employee making $100,000 per year in 2008, and receiving 5% annual merit raises, would only be making $198,000 (98% increase) in 2022. Why the over 400% increase in tolls then? They’re hoping residents are too dumb to realize that “50 percent” doesn’t actually translate into 400 percent overall!

I wish NJ could help me with MY budget deficit!

Via AP:

Corzine to seek 50 percent toll hike every 4 years

New Jersey’s highway tolls would increase at least 50 percent every four years starting in 2010 under a plan to be unveiled Tuesday by Gov. Jon S. Corzine to raise money to cut state debt and pay for transportation projects, four Statehouse officials told The Associated Press on Monday.

Tolls would increase 50 percent in 2010, 2014, 2018 and 2022 under Corzine’s proposal that will be unveiled Tuesday during the governor’s State of the State address to the Legislature.

hoboken-corzine-nj-toll-increase.jpg

But the increases would also include adjustments to reflect inflation in the years tolls weren’t hiked, said the officials who requested anonymity in order not to upstage the governor’s Tuesday speech.

Tolls would increase on the Atlantic City Expressway, Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike.

Corzine’s plan is meant to combat mounting debt he said threatens the state’s future.

Corzine was unavailable for comment on Monday, but when recently talking generally of his plan said, “I don’t take this step lightly. I do so because it is the only way, in my judgment, to dramatically change the state’s financial position.”

Read the rest of the article after the jump.

(continued…)

Corzine wants to pay at least half of $32 billion in state debt, a total that’s doubled since 2000 and makes the state the nation’s fourth-most indebted state. The debt consumes about 10 percent of the state budget , a figure Corzine said will rise in coming years, preventing the state from investing in vital key needs unless something is done.

State bridges also need $13.6 billion in repairs and the state’s transportation fund is set to run out of money in 2011.

Corzine has acknowledged his plan may be tough to sell to lawmakers and citizens, but insists he has little choice.

“The real risk to our collective future comes from the status quo, not from change,” he said. “Make no mistake , I am willing to lose my job if that’s necessary to set our fiscal house in order and get New Jersey out from the debt burden constraining our future.”

Corzine wants to create a nonprofit agency that would issue bonds to bring the state a quick, large cash infusion. The bonds would be paid back by increased tolls.

He’s also looking at other revenue sources, including possibly selling naming rights to state properties, development rights at train stations and properties along toll roads, leasing state-owned fiber optic networks and increasing fees for vendors at toll road rest stops.

Sen. Raymond Lesniak said the state could also earn money by installing windmills along toll roads.

“It’s not going to be easy because change is always difficult,” Lesniak said of whether the public would accept Corzine’s plan.

A Fairleigh Dickinson University poll released Monday found 50 percent of voters oppose increasing tolls, with 39 percent supporting the idea.

“The governor knows he has a sales job ahead of him,” said Peter Woolley, a political scientist and the poll director.

The Garden State Parkway has had one toll increase and the New Jersey Turnpike four in the last 50 years. In 1989, parkway tolls increased to 35 cents per toll booth. The last turnpike toll increase was in 2003, a 17 percent hike.

The average cash-paying automobile driver pays $1.92 per turnpike trip.

Republicans remain skeptical.

“We’re going to dramatically raise tolls, which is really just a tax increase, to keep feeding the monster of state spending,” said Assemblywoman Jennifer Beck, R-Monmouth. “People are leaving the state in droves because they can’t afford to live here and we’re going to make it worse.”

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46 Comments on "Corzine wants regular toll increases"

Amandla
Member
Amandla

In and out of Jersey City DMV with a new license in 15 minutes recently. Maybe it was the change to MVC name. I suspect new management from the private sector is making a big difference. Hold government employees to some standards and they may actually perform. They’re not stupid, just not expected to do anything but the bare minimum.
BTW, if Bret Schundler had been elected we would have NO tolls instead of outrageous increases into forever.

MidnightRacer
Member
[quote comment=”61063″]”Resorting to the quick fix,” you kidding me. Cutting a few employees and improving efficiencies only go so far. Any businessman knows that, and that you need to grow out of problems not just cut away. However, saying that It is important for government to do both when facing an issue of debt as large as what New Jersey has going on. And I hate taxes as much as the next guy but if we dont get the debt down its just going to grow and grow untill income and property and sales taxes need to be increased through the roof.[/quote] There’s a difference. Cutting costs by eliminating waste comes before reducing staff. Waste is not an operational essential but rather mismanagement of limited resource. Unneccessary overhead – whether private or government. Get rid of it. As to simultaneously ‘growing out of a problem’ while reducing costs – that’s done by liquidating holdings that do more harm than generate benefit. Tarragon recently did this and instantly removed debt by selling its real estate holdings which incurred heavy monthly costs. They didn’t buy more land and begin building more projects, but cut back and restructured how they did business. Yet, NJ takes the opposite approach. Still wanting to keep all the waste and build more and more and more programs. By focusing on removing waste (and corruption), and given the large amounts of revenue generated by the highest property taxes in the US, as well as really high corporate tax… Read more »
MF
Member

i agree, there should be no quick fixes.

work hard, eliminate waste, and YES, cut programs. reduce the size of gov’t. and let people take care of themselves.

strand
Member
strand

“Resorting to the quick fix,” you kidding me. Cutting a few employees and improving efficiencies only go so far. Any businessman knows that, and that you need to grow out of problems not just cut away. However, saying that It is important for government to do both when facing an issue of debt as large as what New Jersey has going on. And I hate taxes as much as the next guy but if we dont get the debt down its just going to grow and grow untill income and property and sales taxes need to be increased through the roof.

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