KEARNY – Gov. Chris Christie said bad spending practices, and a decision by the prior administration, is what led to the recent spate of toll hikes throughout the state that kicked in the past few months.
On the Garden State Parkway toll hikes, Gov. Christie said at a town hall here the toll hikes were green-lighted by former Gov. Jon Corzine in 2008, half of which went into effect during his term, and the remainder under Christie’s.
Christie joked that Corzine probably thought he’d still be governor when the latter toll hike kicked in, “but he’s not.”
The governor added there was virtually nothing he could do to roll back the increases, after consulting with the state Treasury Department, because bondholders relying on the increase would sue the state.
Regarding the Port Authority toll hikes, Christie said it was explained to him the hikes were needed to pay for such projects as the Goethels Bridge and raising of the Bayonne Bridge.
The hike was also necessary because the bistate agency’s bond rating “was down tremendously.”
PANYNJ initially called for a 50 percent hike right away, but Christie and N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo negotiated more staggered increases over the next few years.
He admitted to the residents assembled in the gym, “It is frustrating to me to be saddled with these toll increases.”