Gov. Phil Murphy said he might veto a potential toll increase on the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike if he is not happy with the results.
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority said it will be holding public hearings on March 18 and 19 for a “proposed capital program and supporting revenue enhancement” – or simply, tolls – but details are scant, and dollar amounts are not yet available.
Tolls last went up on the state’s two largest highways in January 2012.
“At the end of the day I reserve the right to either pull it back entirely or pull it back in part,” Murphy said at an unrelated event Wednesday morning at William Paterson University.
Under the state constitution, Murphy has the authority to veto the meeting minutes of any executive board or commission, such as the NJTA, thereby nullifying any decisions made during that session.
He used that power in January 2019 with the Delaware River and Bay Authority when he nullified a toll hike they approved, according to NJ.com.
“Just because it may be complicated or somewhat unpopular is not a reason enough not to give it full consideration,” Murphy added.
Murphy’s 2021 budget, which clocks in at $40.9 billion, proposes siphoning off $129 million from the NJTA to plug holes in New Jersey Transit’s budget, despite repeated vows to end the practice. Legislative leadership meanwhile is proposing a $500 million dedicated yearly source of funding for the cash-strapped agency, which includes an increase to the corporate business tax and additional dollars from the Turnpike Authority and Clean Energy Fund.
“We’ve been open from day one to dedicated sources of funding as long it makes sense,” Murphy said.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Gov. Murphy used his veto power in Jan 2019 with the Delaware River Port Authority to nullify a toll hike. It was corrected on Feb. 27, 2020 at 9:40 a.m. to reflect it as the Delaware River and Bay Authority.