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N.J. Toll Contractor Won’t Testify

March 1, 2002

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ The contractor who installed New Jersey’s debt-plagued electronic toll system has refused to testify before lawmakers who want to know why its costing taxpayers millions more than expected.

WorldCom staff refused on the advice of their lawyers to speak at Thursday’s hearing of the Assembly Transportation Committee, state Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski said.

Drivers buy a monthly ``E-ZPass″ so they can coast through toll areas without stopping to pay or take a ticket. But the system _ which was supposed to be financed primarily through fines against toll cheats _ will spend its $300 million fund by the end of this year.

In 2001, E-ZPass collected $13.3 million in fines but spent $19.2 million to process them, said Diane Scaccetti, deputy director of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. The company originally estimated E-ZPass would collect $190.7 million in fines from 1999 through 2001.

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