Latest Plan for Corzine to Consider: Private Lanes on the Turnpike
By NATE SCHWEBER
Published: July 9, 2008
First, Gov. Jon S. Corzine all but offered to lease the New Jersey Turnpike to the highest bidder. Then he floated the bizarre bureaucratic notion of creating a public benefit corporation so the taxpaying public could, essentially, become a private entity and operate the turnpike and other highways (which are now run by a different quasi-public agency).
He proposed an 800 percent toll increase to pay for the state's aging roads and draw down half of its more than $30 billion in debt.
Now, after all those ideas have been shot down, Mr. Corzine is considering a new prospect for financing critical infrastructure and reducing congestion on the road: Privatize individual lanes.
"It does make you wonder what's next," said Jon Shure, president of New Jersey Policy Perspective, a nonprofit research organization.
On Monday, the State Senate president, Richard J. Codey, a Democrat of Essex County, unveiled his proposal for a private company to build an extension on the turnpike from Exit 8A to Exit 6 and on the Garden State Parkway from Exit 82 down to an exit in the 30s for drivers willing to pay extra to avoid traffic.
At the same time, State Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, a Democrat from Union County who is chairman of the Economic Growth Committee, offered his own twist, suggesting that the new lanes be reserved for buses and trucks.