GOP: Toll hike not a long-term fix

Gov. Jon Corzine's proposal to double tolls in New Jersey will not provide a long-term fix, according to Republican members of the state Legislature.

The proposal, announced last week, would only pay for two urgent transportation projects. The increase would pay to widen the New Jersey Turnpike south of Exit 9. It would also provide the funds to build a new tunnel to New York City.

Republicans say with the state's transportation coffers empty, Corzine's administration will need to dip into residents' pockets for long term fixes.

"The Transportation Trust Fund runs out in 2011," says Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R). "The Republican alternative would have funded it for years to come."

"It shouldn't be this way," adds Assemblyman Alex DeCroce (R). "We should have a plan going forward."

Republicans had called for a different solution to the dissipating transportation funds, looking to cut $500,000 from the yearly budget each year instead of doubling tolls. Corzine rejected that plan but now says he is open to alternative solutions.

"The process is just beginning, so I don't understand the criticism," says the governor. "If they have good ideas, they should come in and suggest."

The decision will ultimately be Corzine's. Under law, only the governor has the right to approve or block a toll increase by the Turnpike Authority.

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