Turnpike workers are compiling comments from public hearings, letters and e-mail. They will be sent to Gov. Christie Whitman and the six Turnpike commissioners. Commissioners could vote on the proposal later this month, but Whitman and the state treasurer must approve the plan before then. Whitman has said she wants to review the public input before making her decision.
The commissioners voted unanimously in November to propose two hikes, one in 2001 and another in 2003. Cash tolls would rise 20% for cars in 2001 and 17% in 2003; the cost for truckers would rise 13% each time. Users of the E-ZPass automatic toll system would get a discount. Car drivers using E-ZPass would get a further discount for driving at off-peak times; truckers would get no off-peak discount.
The toll hike would pay for a new Interchange 1 at the Turnpike's southern end, a yeat-to-be-approved Route 92, and a new highway connecting the Turnpike and Route 1 across southern Middlesex County.