On the way to Manhattan for another appearance on Newsmax, we hit some road debris on the Turnpike and needed a tow.

The good news is that the tire blew out but the car handled perfectly and we were able to pull into the rest stop.

Yes, I know huge luck having a blowout nearly at the exit for the Grover Cleveland rest stop.

The first thing I did after assessing the damage to the tire and rim was to call AAA.

The dispatcher confirmed that the tow would be there within the hour. Jodi and I left the car and headed to the rest stop for a cup of coffee.

Photo via Canva
Photo via Canva

While waiting for Jodi's 'flat white' and my 'Americano' with heavy cream my phone rings, it's AAA informing me that because of the Turnpike rules and dedicated towing contracts, they can't help me.

Classic Jersey.

They did offer to call the Turnpike towing company and I received a call within the next 10 minutes.

Then I'm informed that the Turnpike Towing company can only take me off the roadway and to their preferred local garage. As you know, we take our cars to Princeton Jeep on Route 206 because of the excellent service (on any brand), competitive cost, proximity to our home, and the loaner car.

Would not have been practical, let alone the higher cost, to leave the car at a garage more than an hour from the house.

We would either have spent the day in the garage or had to plan another trip.

Given our schedule with three to four events a day, not practical.

So, we took the only other available option which was to have the Turnpike contractor drop us at the ShopRite parking lot just off exit 12. We called back AAA and scheduled the tow from Carteret to Princeton.

It all worked out and thankfully we avoided a dangerous situation with the incident on the road.

That said...two tows and five hours later we arrived at home.

Seems to me that it is outrageous to create a monopoly for a local garage to own portions of a government-owned roadway.

I understand if the State Police have preferred and exclusive contracts for accident clean up and removal, but for the average motorist, flat tires, breakdowns, there is absolutely NO REASON why we cannot have our own service handle the situation.

It's time to change this rule and direct the Turnpike Authority to open up the roadway to competition from around the state.

Let's get that done on Day One.

POP QUIZ: Can you name all 10 interstate highways in New Jersey?

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.

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