While the public can now view future toll projection data on New Jersey roadways on the state’s Department of Treasury web site, Republican lawmakers say Gov. Jon Corzine needs to release even more information related to the governor’s debt restructuring plan. The data can be accessed at www.state.nj.us/treasury/index.shtml.
The governor’s administration used the long-term traffic and toll revenue figures to evaluate how much additional revenue the state could generate from its roadways. Steer Davies and Gleave Ltd., a British transportation consulting firm, calculated future toll revenue and traffic patterns on the New Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway, the Atlantic City Expressway, and Route 440, which connects Staten Island to the Turnpike and the Parkway.
Yet Republican lawmakers say they want more data. In response to the release of the Steer Davies reports, Assembly member Sean Kean, R-Monmouth, said the newly publicized documents are a “heavily edited and sanitized version” of what Steer Davies originally submitted and along with Assembly member Jennifer Beck, R-Mercer, called upon the administration to release all of the data collected during the past two years related to Corzine’s debt restructuring plan. Kean and Beck Friday filed an appeal to a November court ruling that allowed the administration to withhold Steer Davies data.
“The transportation study released by the governor today is 100 pages less than the earlier draft we requested,” Kean said in a press release. “The document provided by the administration today is data the taxpayers paid for.”
The state paid Steer Davies $800,000 for the company’s toll and traffic projection data.
Corzine’s debt restructuring plan includes forming a public benefit corporation that would increase tolls by 50% in 2010, 2014, 2018, and 2022 and implementing new tolls on Route 440, with those revenues backing a potential $37.6 billion bond sale.
Along with Kean and Beck’s court appeal, Assembly Republican Leader Alex DeCroce and Senate Republican Leader Thomas Kean called for Corzine to release all legal opinions the governor has received regarding the tax-exempt status of the public benefit corporation, which has yet to receive tax-exempt approval from the Internal Revenue Service.
“The success or failure of this toll hike proposal could hinge on that question and the legislature should be provided with that legal opinion now so that we can analyze the issues it raises,” Kean said in a press release.