WISNIEWSKI: TURNPIKE AUTHORITY’S PUSH TO PRIVATIZE TOLL COLLECTION IN FACE OF WORKER’S CONCESSIONS BAFFLING

(TRENTON) — Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee Chairman John S. Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) issued the following statement Wednesday after news reports detailed that it appeared the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA) was going ahead with a plan to privatize toll collection despite significant concessions offered the agency by toll collectors:

“Republicans have not had the greatest record when it comes to marrying privatization to New Jersey transportation services. The E-ZPass and the Parsons inspection contracts are proof of that.

“Drivers should be concerned that the Turnpike Authority Chairman Simpson has been doggedly pursuing a plan to privatize toll collectors on the Parkway and Turnpike, despite an offer of significant concessions on the part of the toll workers.

“Equally concerning is the fact that the current privatization plan does not include a ‘right of first refusal’ provision that would offer current toll workers first crack at toll collection jobs, should they become privatized.

“It’s so disappointing that the Christie administration isn’t giving more serious attention to the significant concessions the toll workers have offered to save money while still safely operating our toll roads.

“At the end of the day, the Christie administration seems to be more interested in pushing privatization for its own sake than ensuring our transportation infrastructure works well and middle-class workers aren’t forced out of their jobs and onto the unemployment lines.”