As Tolls Set to Rise, Trade Unionists and Environmentalists Split Over Turnpike Expansion

September toll hike will fund a $24 billion expansion of highways
Credit: (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
File photo shows vehicles lining up at a cash-collecting toll booth on the New Jersey Turnpike in Carlstadt.

Tolls are going up on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway in September following a decision by Gov. Phil Murphy to not oppose a decision by the Turnpike Authority.

The toll hike will fund a $24 billion expansion of the highways. That has upset environmentalists in the state, who had called for a delay until actual public hearings could be held. But building trade unions lobbied in favor of the project.

“They were never going to take no for an answer,” said Micah Rasmussen, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics. “They view this as long term job security for their members.”

Environmentalists have argued that the decision to widen the turnpike should have waited until after the coronavirus pandemic and not be made through meetings held via online tele-conferencing.

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