Corzine opens public toll hike forumsPosted: Updated:
Gov. Jon Corzine is defending his toll increase proposal as immediate attention to a state in financial peril.
Corzine held the first of 21 scheduled public meetings to address the state?s $33 billion debt Saturday. The meeting was held at a high school in Livingston.
The 650-seat capacity auditorium was filled with residents seeking answers, and the school?s cafeteria was used as an overflow room for an additional 50 people.
The governor has announced a plan to hike tolls on the Atlantic City Expressway, Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike by 50 percent every four years between 2010 and 2022. Corzine?s proposal also calls for tolls to be added to a section of Route 440. The plan has been met by mixed responses from residents.
"If we have a financial crisis, we should raise tolls on the Parkway now ? not wait 2 years after a gubernatorial election," said Bud Boothe of Westfield at the meeting.
Corzine said he will consider any suggestions he is presented with at the meetings.