From the APP:
Interstates 78, 80, 195, 287 and 295 are likely targets to become toll roads, transportation experts predict in response to a report submitted to Gov. Chris Christie that suggests that the state explore placing tolls on certain highways.
The report, released on Jan. 22, also suggests having voters decide whether to raise the state’s gasoline tax, after all revenue that is supposed to be dedicated to the state’s Transportation Trust Fund has been returned to that purpose.
The report, which notes that the Transportation Trust Fund will run out of money in 2011 to pay for any highway, bridge or mass transit projects in fiscal year 2012, made six general recommendations about how to raise revenue but did not go into details.
Revenue from the state’s gas tax will raise enough money just to cover the estimated $895 million debt payment in July 2011, the report said.
It recommends exploring “limited tolling of select interstate highways to pay for improvements to those highways,” but didn’t identify highways to be considered.
Transportation experts said the most likely candidates for tolling would be east-west interstates I-78, I-80 and I-195, along with other high-volume highways such as I-287 and I-295. Doing that requires federal approval, which would require state officials to demonstrate why toll money is needed to fix that specific highway.