"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Monday, October 09, 2006

Corzine Considers Turnpike Privatization

Governor Jon Corzine is considering selling or leasing the New Jersey Turnpike to private enterprise to help finance “the staggering costs of long-term transportation and school construction projects”. Experts have said if Corzine decides to put the operation of the Turnpike out for bid, the state could receive as much as $30 billion, depending how the deal is structured.

The appeal to the Corzine administration of turning state assets into cash grows from the dire financial straits faced by the state. Debt has mushroomed to more than $33 billion, and funds to pay for school construction and transportation projects have nearly run out.
The fact that private businesses would be willing to pay big bucks for the Turnpike and still believe a nice profit can be made should be a tip-off to citizens as to the amount of waste fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars in government.

To figure out who has their hands in the Turnpike cookie jar just wait to hear where the howls of protest come from as a possible deal is discussed. Public employee union leaders are beginning to make political noise and politicians used to getting a slice of the job and construction action will be fighting tooth and nail to keep their gravy train rolling.

This ought to be fun to watch - a self-described “progressive” Governor pushing for privatization, explaining how “big business” will be able to provide better service to customers, for the same costs, while turning a profit. The down side however is the Governor’s plan to turn over the billions in Turnpike proceeds to the school construction cartel, ensuring the waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars will continue.

New Jersey’s taxpayers owe billions upon billions to public employee pension and health insurance trust funds. Governor Corzine should use all proceeds from the sale of state assets toward these debts. Let’s face it, New Jersey is broke and the state is actually owned by the states’ public employee unions. Better to pay them off with state property before they come after an even greater share of what little we are allowed to keep of our own private assets.

Update: Bob at eCache has more.



4 Comments:

At 2:47 AM, Anonymous Jim - PRS said...

You're absolutely right. The prospect of progressives urging that the private sector can provide services more efficiently than government is dripping with irony. Unfortunately, as Bob at eCache notes, selling the Turnpike is just another sort of short-term financial gimmick to deal with the long-term problem of a bloated, corrupt state government.

 
At 6:55 AM, Anonymous Mr. Bingley said...

The Turnpike is a cash cow, and as noted the short-term gain comes no where near enough to make up for the loss of the long-term steady income.

 
At 8:57 AM, Blogger Enlighten said...

It’s hard to find current financial information on the Turnpike, but in 1999 net revenue after expenses and debt payments was $62.4 million. See Audit Report – page 23. The net revenue figure assumes payments to employee retirement funds were adequate. It would be interesting to see net revenue today.

It really depends how a sale or lease deal is structured if we are better off in the short, as well as, long term. It also depends how the state uses the money from the proceeds. Obviously if the money were used for state operating expenses or to fund new boondoggles than of course it would not be in our best interests. But it is possible for taxpayers to come out a winner with the right deal and prudent use of the proceeds.

 
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