The Star-Ledger Continuous News Desk
Gov. Jon Corzine will hold a town hall meeting in Glassboro tonight on his proposal to fix state finances through higher tolls, his last meeting until after his Feb. 26 budget address.
The 7-9 p.m. session at Rowan University will be the governor’s 13th in a 21-county series of meetings as he tries to build support for his financial restructuring plan. More than 8,000 residents have attended the meetings so far.
At Sunday’s meeting in Middlesex County, Corzine told the audience he no longer expects tolls on Route 440 to be a part of the plan.
The governor has proposed creating a nonprofit public corporation to operate the New Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway and the Atlantic City Expressway. Under its contract with the state, the company would be allowed to raise tolls by up to 50 percent plus inflation every four years between 2010 and 2022, and just by the cost of inflation every four years after that.
His proposal had included a 35 cent toll on Route 440 in Middlesex. The idea to put tolls on Route 440 has been harshly criticized by state legislators from Middlesex County.
Corzine has also signaled other possible changes to his plan, such as giving frequent commuters toll discounts of as much as 25 percent and considering a higher gas tax or a privately run lottery to ease the toll increases . Several lawmakers said he willl need to make changes to win the approval of the Legislature.
Corzine plans to outline more than $2 billion in cuts in his budget address, which he believes will change the tenor of the meetings – some of which have housed skeptical and even hostile audiences.
The governor’s office asked s that anyone wishing to speak at the meetings sign up through its Web site, or by calling the RSVP numbers listed on the site.
To measure the toll plan’s impact on your commute, see The Star-Ledger’s toll calculator – covering every exit on the Turnpike and Parkway – at New Jersey by the Numbers.
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