SENATE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE

 

STATEMENT TO

 

SENATE, No. 2636

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

DATED:  JANUARY 20, 2011

 

      The Senate Transportation Committee reports favorably Senate Bill No. 2636.

      This bill directs the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (“authority”) to adopt an appropriate resolution or take such other action as may be necessary to immediately reduce or effectuate a reduction in the tolls charged and collected by the authority, the cumulative total of $1.25 billion to be collected over time, that is no longer required for the financing or payment of the canceled mass transit tunnel project between the States of New Jersey and New York.

      In 2008, the authority approved a two-phase toll increase on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway, the first toll increase occurring in 2008 and the second toll increase to occur in 2012, to fund a $7 billion, ten-year capital plan and a $1.25 billion contribution to the Transportation Trust Fund Authority for the Access to the Region’s Core (ARC) Tunnel project.

      The ARC Tunnel project was described as essential to relieving congestion on the New Jersey Turnpike.  In the authority’s determination, the project served its needs by preserving vital capacity on the Eastern and Western spurs of the New Jersey Turnpike in keeping with its fiduciary obligation to fund critical safety and congestion relief projects.

      In October 2010, Governor Christie announced his decision to terminate the ARC Tunnel project.  The toll increase authorized and collected by the authority for the financing or payment of the ARC Tunnel is no longer required, and accordingly, the authority is directed to immediately reduce tolls increased for this purpose.