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Coronavirus Pandemic No Excuse Not to Raise Tolls 


Toll Hike Vote Called “Unconscionable”

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, New Jersey Turnpike Authority voted to increase tolls on the Garden State Parkway and the New jersey Turn Pike .The Parkway and Turnpike increases were both approved by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, which manages the highways, in a 7-0 vote during a remotely-held Wednesday meeting. It followed three hours of public comment from many who oppose the increase.

Under the NJTA’s plans, tolls on the NJ Turnpike would go up an average of $1.30. Prices on the Garden State Parkway’s main toll plazas, as opposed to those at entrances and exits to the highway, will go up from $1.50 to $1.90. Those extra fees would finance roughly 100 miles of lane widenings and 53 separate projects spanning the next decade, such as a new exit on the turnpike and cashless tolling.

Increases would go into effect on Sept. 13. The tolls have not gone up since 2012.

At the same time ,the South Jersey Transportation Authority, which oversees the AC Expressway, says its proposal would see tolls at the Egg Harbor plaza advance from $3 to $4.25. That would finance 13 miles of lane-widening, cashless tolling, and a direct connection to the Atlantic City Airport.

Tolls for all three highways would increase up to 3 percent a year starting on Jan. 1, 2022, depending on certain economic indicators at the time.

Senator Declan O’Scanlon, Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso, and Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger (R-Monmouth) today condemned New Jersey Turnpike Authority’s vote to approve a toll hike along the Turnpike and Parkway.

“It is completely astounding that the Turnpike Authority believed they should move forward with this toll hike process. We are in the midst of a pandemic. Loved ones have been lost. People have been confined to their homes for more than two months. Hundreds of thousands are currently worrying about whether their businesses will be able to reopen in time for their livelihood to be saved.

“It does not matter whether or not someone believes that a toll increase is necessary. Because the ultimate issue is that proceeding with a policy that requires public hearings during a pandemic is ridiculous and offensive.

“Currently, people are completely occupied worrying about their health, lives, and livelihoods. Over a million residents have applied for unemployment. To move forward with a proposed toll hike is truly unconscionable.”

Senator Kip Bateman slammed the approval of multiple toll hikes on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway while New Jerseyans remain stuck at home under the Governor’s lockdown orders.

“Bureaucrats who control our highways are quietly fast-tracking massive toll hikes on New Jersey drivers when nobody is looking,” said Bateman (R-16). “While our daily commutes may look different today, these toll increases will slam drivers with higher costs as our state reopens, making the New Jersey an even more expensive place to live, work, and raise a family. There has been nothing transparent about the process. It’s absolutely shameful.”

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