Gov. Chris Christie is distancing himself from steep toll increases taking effect Sunday on the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike, placing blame on former Gov. Jon S. Corzine, out of office for nearly two years.
During a radio interview Thursday, Christie also said he didn’t have the option to trim the plan to increase tolls on the Parkway by 50 percent and on the Turnpike by 53 percent, an assertion immediately challenged by state Democrats.
Transportation officials say the extra revenue is needed for a $7-billion capital program to upgrade roads and bridges, but Christie, a Republican, hinted that the hike is excessive and said that Corzine is at fault.
Average Parkway car tolls will jump from 70 cents to $1.05 New Year’s Day. Car tolls on the Turnpike will increase an average of $1.10, from $2.20 to $3.30.
“This is, I hope, one of the last vestiges of the Jon Corzine years,” Christie told host John Gambling on WOR-AM. “There’s no way for us to roll these back because the state and Jon Corzine sold bonds to bondholders and promised the bondholders that the money, the increase in the tolls, would be there to pay their bonds and if we rolled it back we’d be violating the bond conveyance.” [emphasis mine]Keep reading to find out how the non-partisan OLS calls BS on Christie. But trust me - this won't be the last time Christie blames something on Corzine. It's much easier to blame things on a guy who's been out of office two years than to actually govern.