By Art Gallagher
Politickernj is reporting that New Jersey’s construction unions are leaning on Democratic lawmakers not to criticise Governor Christie over the proposed 50% toll and fare hikes by the Port Authority of NY/NJ. Yet.
The labor unions want New Jersey commuters to fund the $33 billion in NY and NJ infrastructure projects, including the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, that the toll hikes will support.
Trenton Democrats and U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg had initially come out strongly against the toll hikes. Governors Christie and Cuomo claimed they were caught off guard by the toll hike proposal and would review it. Most observers expect Christie and Cuomo to approve lower toll increases than the Port Authority has proposed.
Trenton Democrats are now holding their powder on criticising the proposed hikes, figuring that Christie will look good politically if he responds to the criticism by scaling back the increases. Instead they will attack Republicans after the final hikes are approved.
Christie has blamed the need for toll hikes on years of mismanagement in the Port Authority and has claimed that the people he has appointed are improving the operations and finances of the mega agency. Cuomo said that the proposed toll hikes don’t work for him.