Assemblyman Vince Polistina today called on Governor Jon Corzine to abandon his massive toll hike and borrowing plan and instead focus his attention on cutting government waste, but added that if the Governor proceeds with the proposal he must exempt the Atlantic City Expressway or risk devastating the economy of Atlantic City.
?The expressway is a vital link for many people from Pennsylvania and Central and South Jersey who visit the casinos and other shopping and entertainment attractions in Atlantic City,? said Polistina, R-Atlantic. ?The Governor?s toll hike plan will make those trips more costly and will almost certainly have the impact of significantly reducing the number of visitors to Atlantic City venues.?
Polistina said that Corzine needs to consider abandoning his toll restructuring plan altogether and instead focus his attention on cutting wasteful and unnecessary spending in the state budget. Cutting wasteful spending and eliminating political patronage throughout the South Jersey Transportation Authority and other levels of state government will be the keys to solving the state?s fiscal mess, he added.
If the Governor chooses to move forward with his plan, Polistina said he believes the Corzine must exempt the Atlantic City Expressway from any proposed toll hikes.
There are 21 million people within a tank of gas of Atlantic City and the city is dependant on the consumers who drive to get there. The Atlantic City Expressway also serves as a commuter road for many South Jersey residents traveling to and from Philadelphia, Atlantic City and various shore points.
Polistina noted that traveling roundtrip to Atlantic City from Philadelphia on the Atlantic City Expressway will eventually cost $40 to $50 under Corzine?s proposal. He said that this will dramatically decrease the number of people who will make the trip, particularly with the advent of casino gambling in Philadelphia.
?Right now there is approximately $10 billion of investment planned in Atlantic City and that potential economic growth will be dashed if it becomes too costly for people to travel to the city,? Polistina said. ?Additionally there are many South Jersey residents who use the expressway to get to work in and around Atlantic City and this toll hike would add a crippling financial burden for those daily commuters.?