At a press conference with State Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean Jr., U.S. Senate candidate Dick Zimmer today condemned Governor Jon Corzine?s warmed-over toll hike plan and criticized Senator Frank Lautenberg for New Jersey?s affordability crisis.

Zimmer released the following statement:

?New Jersey families are struggling to deal with higher gasoline and food prices while paying the highest state and local taxes in the country. The last thing we need is drastically higher tolls.

?Unlike Governor Corzine?s earlier toll hike plan, not one penny of this increase will be used to pay down the enormous state debt wreaking havoc on our state?s finances. Nor will the new tolls replenish the rapidly depleting the state?s Transportation Trust Fund.

?Last week, I called on Senator Lautenberg to join me in opposing Governor Corzine?s new plan to more than double our tolls and today I am renewing that call.

?Senator Lautenberg not only has failed to speak out against Governor Corzine?s fiscal mismanagement; he has failed to adequately address New Jersey?s transportation needs at the federal level.

?After 24 years with Frank Lautenberg in the Senate, New Jersey not only ranks last in the nation in our overall return on our federal tax dollars; we even get shortchanged on our federal gas tax dollars. Every year we get back less from the Federal Highway Trust Fund than we pay in federal gasoline taxes. This is a shocking situation for a corridor state represented by a Senator who claims to be an advocate for New Jersey transportation.

?Not only is our state Transportation Trust Fund going broke; so is the Federal Highway Trust Fund, which is projected to be unable to pay its bills next month. If the last federal transportation bill hadn?t been porked up with $24 billion in earmarks with the support of Senator Lautenberg, the Federal Highway Trust Fund would be able to meet its core obligations.

?Senator Lautenberg has been asleep at the wheel as other states have taken money out of our pockets to fund ?bridges to nowhere? and other wasteful transportation projects. The result is higher tolls and higher taxes for New Jerseyans.

?For too long Senator Lautenberg?s and Governor Corzine?s policies of high taxes, big government and wasteful spending have been hurting New Jersey families. It?s time for a change in the management of our government. I will fight to restore fiscal responsibility to our state and our nation.?


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