Murphy and DOT Commissioner Wrong to Proceed with Toll Hike Hearings | Jack's Op-Ed in SaveJersey
Governor Phil Murphy is at it again. This time it’s the Atlantic City Expressway and South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA) toll hike hearings. I’ve said again and again since late February – the Governor’s intentional lack of transparency on this issue is offensive.
Back in mid-March, with residents adapting to social distancing and avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people, Governor Phil Murphy approved of Turnpike Commission public hearings to discuss proposed toll increases on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway.
Around the state, government meetings were being postponed and businesses were being forced to close. Yet, the Governor approved of the hearings taking place despite an emerging life-and-death pandemic. It was outrageous and wrong. On March 18th, I called on the Governor to postpone the hearings, and today I am repeating that call.
Now, with the COVID-19 public health threat only more widespread, the Governor and his DOT Commissioner have approved that the SJTA proceed with its April 1st and 2nd hearings to discuss toll hikes on the Atlantic City Expressway. Making matters worse, according to news reports, SJTA Board Members were told not to comment on the matter publicly.
Like the March Turnpike Commission hearings, any and all citizens impacted by toll increases should have the ability to comment on them – publicly. What is Governor Murphy thinking? What is the rush? Like the plan to raise tolls on the Turnpike and Parkway, any plan to raise tolls on the AC Expressway by 37 percent deserves a full and complete public hearing.
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