A close political race for state governor in New Jersey, and accusations that incumbent Gov Jon Corzine was reviving his 2006 plan for monetization of the Turnpike produced a commitment to freeze tolls during his next term. "No toll increases, no leasing of the turnpike...Off the table. Not happening, period." That's how Gov Corzine spoke today after tolls became a furore that he judged threatened his re-election.
Governor Corzine has acknowledged he isn't getting political support for his big tollroads monetization plan that he put out early this year. And his supporters are saying only a much scaled down version of the plan is possible together with abandonment of the elaborate set of political cutouts Corzine proposed to limit backsliding - what some have characterized as a Rube Goldberg legal contraption.
NJ Repubs challenge constitutionality of Corzine tollroads scheme - say can't grant franchise to PBCBy Peter Samuel on February 13, 2008
New Jersey Republican legislative leaders have raised an interesting constitutional challenge to Governor Cozine's tollroad monetization scheme. Senate GOP leader Tom Kean and assembly leader Alex DeCroce say it violates a constitutional bar on granting special privileges.
Under Governor Corzine's draft legislation to monetize New Jersey's tollroads, the New Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway, the Atlantic City Expressway and NJ440 would be transferred to a New Jersey Turnpike Authority reconstituted as New Jersey Capital Solutions Corporation (NJCSC).
Governor Corzine and his administration specified the New Jersey toll increases to be modeled by their traffic and revenue (T&R) consultants in a reversal of the normal relationship.
NJ Turnpike to secure borrowings of $37.6b with max 50% toll hikes 2010, 2014, 2018, 2022 + indexationBy Peter Samuel on January 8, 2008
Governor Jon Corzine is proposing creation of a state owned but independently controlled Public Benefit Corporation (PBC) to take over New Jersey's tollroads under a toll concession that would raise $37.6b - for paydown of state debt and transport improvements. The concession agreement would allow maximum increases of 50% in toll rates in 2010 and further 50% toll hikes in 2014, 2018, and 2022, plus inflation adjustments on an annual basis.
Governor Jon Corzine will tour the state speaking in all 21 counties over the next few weeks on behalf of his proposal to monetize the New Jersey Turnpike. The first of what are being called "Governor Corzine's Financial Restructuring and Debt Reduction Town Hall Meetings" is set for Jan 12 in Livingston in Essex Co, with others following at two or three days intervals in Hackensack Bergen Co, Randolph in Morris Co, and Middle Twp in Cape May.
The Corzine administration has filed a paper with a Superior Court in Trenton arguing that since their consultant studies on privatization and monetization of the New Jersey Turnpike are incomplete they are exempt from open records laws.
Two Republican state legislators filed a lawsuit demanding release of the consultant report after the state treasury department rejected their requests for copies.
An opinion poll released today shows Governor Jon Corzine faces almost as much public skepticism about "monetization" of the New Jersey Turnpike as about privatization in the form of a longterm lease/concession.