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State & Union Officials Debate Proposal To Privatize Toll Collection In New Jersey

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(NJ Turnpike, in 2010 file photo)

(NJ Turnpike, in 2010 file photo)

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TRENTON, NJ (CBS) — A decision is expected next week on a proposal to privatize toll collection on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway. On Thursday, State and union officials appeared before an Assembly Committee in Trenton to make their cases.

Transportation Commissioner James Simpson, who also chairs the Turnpike Authority, told the Assembly State Government Committee that he’s got a new proposal from the main union — that staffers are pouring over. But they’re trimming spending, and if that means taking 8-hundred toll taker jobs private, so be it.

“There’s not any ideological bent at this administration to outsource or to privatize at all costs.”

Turnpike workers union head Fran Ehret said that they’ve made millions in cost cutting offers since January, only to be ignored time and again by management.

“We’ve tried to do the right thing and we never got a response to our proposal. Not even once. Not a phone call. Not a letter.”

But there is litigation — and pending labor charges filed. Simpson insists no final decision on privatization has been made. The union doesn’t believe him.

Reported by KYW’s David Madden

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