Lettiere urges Senate actionon toll road consolidation
Bipartisan legislation that would merge the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway will produce longterm savings, better capital planning and more efficient operation, Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere testified today before the Senate Transportation Committee.
Sponsored by Senators Andrew Ciesla (R-Ocean) and Nicholas Sacco (D-Hudson), the legislation was proposed by Gov. James E. McGreevey. The legislation would enable the Turnpike to assume the operations, facilities and financial obligations of the New Jersey Highway Authority, which operates the Garden State Parkway.
Lettiere said toll road consolidation would yield $4 million in operating savings this year and $10 million a year by 2008. The debt of the two authorities would be restructured to reduce debt service and free up millions of dollars for needed infrastructure improvements, he said.
“By melding two of the state’s most vital arteries – we can better fulfill the infrastructure needs of these two agencies,” Lettiere said. “The result will be two roads with uniform purpose, uniform principles and uniform policy – poised to deliver the safe and efficient transportation network New Jersey residents deserve.”
Consolidation also will place EZ Pass on more secure financial footing and enable faster implementation of the Express EZ Pass lanes, he said.