NJ could curb massive toll increases

A bipartisan coalition of New Jersey lawmakers is trying to curb a toll increase due to go into effect Jan. 1 on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway.

The Turnpike Authority announced a 3% automatic toll increase on a budget of nearly $ 2.3 billion. It would be the second toll increase in less than a year after increasing fees by 36% on the Turnpike and 27% on the Parkway in September.

State Sen. Jim Holzapfel, R-Ocean, called the toll increase “a shame” and reprimanded the “Turnpike Authority bureaucrats” for approving automatic toll increases.

Holzapfel, along with Senator Nia Gill, D-Essex, supports a bill that would restrict the Turnpike Authority to automatic toll increases no more than every three years. Prior to a procedural change, toll increases would be subject to a public hearing and an actual public vote by members of the Turnpike Authority Board. That is no longer the case.

Reps Greg McGuckin, R-Ocean, called the toll increases a “sneak attack” on New Jersey drivers. He and his colleague John Catalano, Ocean Assemblyman, are planning to introduce another bill that would cut current toll rates by 50 cents and leave them at the lower rate for three years.

McGuckin said in a press release the toll increases were “an insult to any driver and an attack on the wallets of working families everywhere, especially those who live in coastal communities who commute to work on toll roads every day”.

While it is likely that the Gill and Holzapfel bill will be passed by the end of the current legislature (Jan. 11), it is far less certain that the bill will be passed and signed by the government at a discount on current toll rates . Phil Murphy.

Toll revenues plummeted during the pandemic shutdowns when few people commuted and / or traveled for leisure. As traffic levels return to pre-pandemic levels, the Turnpike Authority has defended the toll increases as a means to pay for ongoing road improvements and capitol projects.

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