NJ Governor says toll collector jobs are "just not going to be there any more"
By Peter Samuel
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie answering a question at a large public meeting last Thursday (2/24) in West Deptford said of the job of toll collector: "It's just going to be one of those jobs that's just not going to be there anymore."
He was answering a question from a woman in the audience who said she was a toll collector with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. She asked the Governor if he was going to try settle labor unrest at the Turnpike or have it spread - a reference to plans to privatize toll collection there.
"I wish I could say to you: 'Your job's going to be safe, you're going to be fine.' You're not."
In a very short time, Christie said "cars will either be using electronic passes (transponders) or they will be billed based on a picture of their license plate.
"Bottom line: that's savings."
"I'm sorry that's affecting you personally, but I want to be honest with you and tell you the truth."
West Deptford is a southern Jersey suburb of the greater Philadelphia area, five miles, 8km south of the Walt Whitman Bridge and located between the Delaware River and the New Jersey Turnpike.
Local reports were that Christie was received with repeated bursts of applause at the meeting which was described as "standing room only."
His main themes were the need to raise the retirement age for government sector employees, get them to pay a larger share of their health and pension contributions because the state and local governments can't afford them.
Of the state budget he said: "The day of reckoning has arrived. The bills are coming due."
He said school districts need to have the power to fire bad teachers and pay good teachers more: "What I can't stand are unions who protect the worst of the worst."