TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso called on Gov. Phil Murphy to stop the New Jersey Turnpike Authority from charging ahead on proposed toll hikes while New Jersey responds to the coronavirus crisis. Public hearings on a plan to raise tolls $525 million a year and allow 3 percent annual increases went ahead Wednesday despite cancellations of other public events due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Everything about the New Jersey economy has changed dramatically in the last 72 hours,” said DiMaso (R-Monmouth). “Commuters can hardly afford such drastic toll hikes for an unprecedented spending increase. Murphy can’t acknowledge on one hand that people are facing financial catastrophe but still push forward with toll hikes on those same residents who can’t give their vocal input because they are following his directions to stay home.”
Monmouth is one of the hardest hit counties in the state with coronavirus quickly spreading. The tourism industry could take a big hit, which is the main economic driver along the shore.
“Annual three percent toll hikes without allowing public input will literally drive New Jerseyans out of New Jersey,” concluded DiMaso.
There were two hearings yesterday, held in Middlesex and Camden counties. Not a single person present opposed. All who were present were representing interests in support of the plan.