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Unanswered Questions in Toll Privatization Plan [AUDIO]

The Assembly State Government Committee took testimony Monday on the Christie administration’s plan to privatize all toll collections in New Jersey. The panel’s chairperson said she was left with more questions than answers.

NJ Turnpike
NJ Turnpike (Mario Tama, Getty Images)

“Toll privatization is a concern because it’s about service to our driving public,” said Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Scotch Plains). “It’s about jobs and it’s about dollars, taxpayer dollars.”

Officials from the New Jersey Turnpike Authority were invited to provide testimony but declined, according to Stender. She still has questions that she wants answered before any privatization deal is finalized.

“How much money are they really going to be saving?” Stender asked. “How much profit is going to then be going to the vendor who has privatized? When they reduce salaries for a job like this, what happens to those families? Do they now end up needing public assistance?”

The privatization process that the administration is using and the criteria they’ve established are not known, Stender said. She also made reference to the ongoing Bridgegate scandal and the Christie administration.

“Part of this, as we have seen in recent events, is about transparency in government,” the assemblywoman said. “How are they doing this? Why are they doing this and what dollars are at stake?”

Interested companies have until next month to submit proposals to take over toll collections.

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