As Governor Corzine travels around the State, touting the benefits of his enormous toll hike plan, democratic leaders – on the local and Federal level – are reacting in a reserved fashion – and choosing their words carefully.
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez says he gives the Governor enormous credit for tackling a topic what everybody else has swept under the rug – the State’s ballooning debt – but at the same time “the question is when you increase tolls, what are the consequences to every day people – who have to go to work and don’t have other options?”
He says “when people don’t have options to get to work outside of using the toll road, we’ve got to look at the impact on those people- I’m not quite sure that plan has that connection to it.”
Menendez adds he’s not taking a position yet on the proposal because he hasn’t been given a full briefing on it.
When asked whether he was concerned that a high volume of truck traffic would spill onto his local roads to avoid a big toll hike on the Turnpike, Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage replied “I think what will happen is the trucking community is just going to pass on any increases to the consumer.”
So does that mean he supports the Governor’s plan to hike tolls 800 percent?
“I would like to see – I support equaling the tolls at 13 and 13A” said the Mayor, “there’s an awful lot of people in the city of Elizabeth who use the Turnpike, and I would support some kind of discount for the steady commuter who uses the Turnpike on a regular basis.”
By: David Matthau