State Senate starts down the road to possible toll hikes

The state Senate's Budget Committee began the process of looking at Gov. Jon Corzine's toll road debt reduction plan by hosting its first hearing on the proposal Wednesday.

Corzine is pushing to install a series of 50 percent toll increases on some of the state's roads to help cut $32 billion in state debt. As the hearings began, Corzine's team said the debt is part of an ultimate $100 billion owed due to pension and benefit obligations.

The governor said he wants his proposal approved within two months. Republican state Senator Kevin O'Toole is worried about time constraints.

"We have so much work to do, we could work on nothing but this for the next two or three months," said O'Toole.

Corzine has said he is willing to compromise on the proposal. State lawmakers are expected to spend the coming weeks considering whether the plan can work or if changes are needed.

Related information: Corzine: Toll increase plan will decrease traffic Corzine opens public toll hike forums Office of the Governor

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