Report: NJ Could Lease Turnpike, Garden State Parkway To Make $17B Amid Budget Woes

NJ Turnpike
Photo credit Tariq Zehawi/ via Imagn Content Services, LLC
By WCBS Newsradio 880

TRENTON (WCBS 880) – A rarely used practice in the U.S. could be the answer to a lot of New Jersey’s COVID-related funding problems—leasing toll roads to private companies on a long-term lease.

Robert Poole, director of transportation policy at the nonpartisan Reason Foundation, recently authored a report that proposed just that.

“The way this is done in most countries, and a few projects in the United States, is to pay the entire lease amount—the net present value of the lease amount—upfront as a big lump sum,” Poole said.

It’s a lump sum Poole estimates could be around $17 billion if New Jersey decided to lease the NJ Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway.

The idea was first posed in New Jersey in 2007 by former Gov. Jon Corzine.

A consortium of global toll management companies are usually the people who would be interested in leasing toll roads. Leases would range anywhere from 40 to 100 years.

“The company would then manage the toll road; collect the tolls, maintain it, follow the provisions in the long-term lease,” Poole said.

He said the good news for drivers is that while toll increases might happen every year, the increases wouldn’t be dramatic because they’d be based on the rate of inflation.