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Operating engineers back toll plan

By Nikita Biryukov, April 15 2020 3:31 pm

The political arm of Operating Engineers Local 825 urged the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to go ahead with its plan to raise tolls on the turnpike and Garden State Parkway Wednesday.

“Let’s face it. New Jersey, has been challenged in keeping up with the necessary design and infrastructure improvements,” Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative 825 director Mark Longo said. “It’s no secret that the American Society of Civil Engineers consistently has given New Jersey’s roads and bridges a D+ rating, specifically noting a lack of funding as one reason for the rating. That’s why increasing investment for the GSP and N.J. Turnpike for the first time in eight years makes sense now.”

The authority has considered increasing tolls on the New Jersey by as much as 36% and on the Garden State Parkway by as much as 27%.

The move has faced opposition from some, and the authority has drawn fire for holding hearings on the proposed hikes during a pandemic.

“Investing in our roads and bridges, especially those as critical as the NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway, doesn’t negate further investment in mass transit and rail. So, we don’t need to hold up improvements on existing roads to plan for investment elsewhere,” Engineers Labor-Employer Cooperative 825 chairman Greg Lalevee said. “We have an obligation to the hundreds of thousands of citizens who travel these roadways now.”

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