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NJ Senate President Tells Turnpike Authority to Lay Off Toll Collection Privatization

By David Madden

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) -- The New Jersey Turnpike Authority is once again considering privatization of toll collection on the turnpike and the Garden State Parkway, which it also operates.

While there is nothing specific pending before the panel (see previous story), political pressure is already beginning to mount against the concept.

Today, NJ state senate president Steve Sweeney urged board members to abandon the concept, insisting that unionized collectors have already given enough: some $30 million worth of concessions in their last contract.

"If they (the Turnpike Authority) want to be more efficient, they should look at reducing the amount of administration that they have, because that's where the real salaries are," Sweeney said.

Board members did not offer a reply to Sweeney's comments.

The authority is in the middle of getting proposals from companies that would handle not just the manual toll collection but the electronic system as well.   Those proposals are due by early May, with no deadline on any possible action.

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