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McGreevey Signs E.O. Establishing Toll Road Consolidation Commission

  Governor James E. McGreevey signed an Executive Order today establishing the Toll Road Consolidation Commission, the first step toward merging the authorities that run the New Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway and the Atlantic City Expressway.

"We are going to merge these three toll roads in order to eliminate duplication and to achieve economies of scale," said McGreevey. "The charge of the Toll Road Consolidation Commission is clear-find the best and most efficient way to consolidate the Parkway, Turnpike and Atlantic City Expressway."

Specifically, the Governor is charging the Commission with determining the feasibility of consolidating the three entities, deciding the best method of consolidation and conducting a full and complete analysis of the bond implications of the unprecedented merger.

The Governor said the Commission would be considering several options for consolidation including merging the entirety of all three roads or merging only the administrative portion of each agency while keeping their respective boards. The Commission will report its findings back to the Governor by August 1, 2002.

"There are many benefits to consolidating these three roads," said McGreevey. "If all three agencies operated as one entity, the State would be able to more efficiently coordinate capital planning and spending. The merger will ensure that our resources are being used most effectively."

McGreevey said consolidation is needed now more than ever because it will allow the roads to better coordinate purchasing, hiring and capital planning.

"The authorities jointly procured the troubled EZ-Pass system, but have implemented the system differently," said McGreevey. "Integrated management will substantially assist in addressing current problems."

Currently, each of the three toll roads operate independently of each other. However, in light of the $5.3 billion budget gap facing the state in the next fiscal year, McGreevey is looking at toll road consolidation as an option that will save the State upwards of $10 million annually that can be used on capital transportation projects.

The Atlantic City Expressway is run by the South Jersey Transportation Authority and had an operating budget of over $47 million in 2001. The Garden State Parkway, which is run by the New Jersey Highway Authority, had an operating budget that was just under $136 million last year. The Turnpike, administered through the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, had an operating budget of approximately $167 million during 2001.

If necessary, the Commission will have the option of enlisting the services of an independent management consulting firm to provide a management reorganization plan that will integrate management and operations of the authorities.

The Commission will consist of the chairpersons and executive directors of the Turnpike, Highway and South Jersey Transportation Authorities, the Governor's Chief of Management and Operations, Transportation Commissioner James P. Fox, one specialist in public finance matters, one specialist in public sector labor matters, one representative of a labor union from each of the three authorities, a toll payer, and a bus or train commuter.

Chief of the Governor's Authorities Unit, Paul Josephson, will chair the Commission.

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