Were you stunned by the enormity of the toll hikes approved this week? So was a group called “Garden State Initiative.”

The Turnpike Authority this week approved a 36% toll hike for the Turnpike and a 27% increase for the Parkway. The AC Expressway tolls are also going up by 40%.

The Garden State Initiative, which describes itself as “an independent research and educational organization dedicated to making New Jersey once again a place where families and businesses can thrive,” is calling on Governor Murphy to veto the toll hikes in the interests of middle class New Jersey residents. The group’s statement says, in part, that the massive toll hikes “will further punish our middle- and lower-income workers and slow the recovery of our local small businesses.”

The GSI statement says the toll increase by the Turnpike will take “$524 million out of the hands of New Jersey residents who need it now more than ever to pay for everyday essentials like housing and food.” Instead of throwing up their hands and giving up, the group suggests “Governor Murphy should prioritize the interests of our state’s struggling workers and small businesses owners by vetoing this plan.” Keep in mind, the Turnpike Authority also approved automatic toll increases in the future, indexed to the rate of inflation.

GSI President Regina M. Egea also called on the governor to veto the toll hike for the AC Expressway approved by the South Jersey Transportation Authority, saying, “this almost 40% toll increase adds insult to injury to a city whom the Administration continues to ignore.”

Even if it doesn’t do any good, it’s reassuring that this group is willing to call out the governor for this shameful money grab.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.