Buono Welcomes Corzine’s Flexibility On Toll Road-Debt Reduction Plan

TRENTON – Senator Barbara Buono, Chair of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee, said the panel’s review of Governor Corzine’s toll road-debt reduction plan should test the Chief Executive’s avowed willingness to compromise to get his proposal passed in the Legislature.

“I’m encouraged by the Governor’s openness to accepting changes (to his plan) because there will be changes,” said Senator Buono, D-Middlesex. “So far, he (Corzine) has done a good job expressing the need to cut our State debt ($32 billion) in half so we act on needed quality of life improvements.”

The panel meets at 3 p.m. in Committee Room 4 in the State House Annex. Representatives of labor, citizen groups, think tanks and the general public are expected to testify. No actual bill will be considered to advance the Governor’s plan to increase tolls by 50 percent starting in 2010 in four increments ending in 2022.

“This (hearing) is an opportunity for the Legislature to listen and then provide input to the Governor’s plan,” Senator Buono said. “We will be advancing the concerns expressed by our constituents while we face the need to reduce our debt. I believe there’s bipartisan agreement that something positive has to be done.”