Pennacchio and Andrews lock horns over toll roads

U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews (D-1) today stood by his advocacy of Gov. Jon Corzine’s toll roads proposal in the face of bad mouthing from state Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-Morris).

“I give the governor credit,” said Andrews, who entered the U.S. Senate race last week against Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

“We want to address the state’s problems,” Andrews said. “I take Joe Pennacchio’s criticism as a high compliment.”

As he struggles to secure his party’s nomination in a turbulent GOP
primary, Pennacchio treated the entry of Andrews into the contest as an opportunity to go after another Democratic target.

When asked to draw a contrast between himself and the Camden Democrat, Pennacchio said, “I never raised a tax.

“Joe Pennacchio has a record ofcutting taxes,” the senator added of himself.

The Republican referred to Andrews’s public declaration of support earlier this year for Corzine’s plan to increase tolls by 50% every four years until 2022 on the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, Atlantic City Expressway and Route 440.

“Rob Andrews wants to raise your tolls rather than cut wasteful spending,” said Pennacchio. “His party took a sharp left hand turn in the 1960s.”

Andrews said he would relish a contest with the Morris state senator.

“A match-up with Pennacchio makes every Democrat smile,” Andrews said. “His comments are very typical of Republicans.”

When it comes to the state’s fiscal woes, “All they do is complain,” said the congressman, who is waiting for the Republicans to offer a better plan than doing nothing, raising taxes, or continuing to complain.