December 10, 2020
Drivers traveling across the Delaware River Port Authority's four bridges between Pennsylvania and New Jersey will not see toll increases next year.
There had been plans for a toll hike in 2021 on the Ben Franklin, Walt Whitman, Betsy Ross, and Commodore Barry bridges, but a move to postpone that was unanimously supported by the DPRA Board of Commissioners, officials said. The cost to cross each bridge, from New Jersey to Pennsylvania, will remain $5 for passenger vehicles.
The DRPA's current toll schedule, implemented in 2011, calls for automatic biennial fare increase based upon Consumer Price Index increases in the Philly region. This is the fifth time in the last 10 years the DRPA has postponed raising tolls. There has not been a toll increase on the authority's four Delaware River bridges in the last decade.
The DRPA also approved a slight reduction to the organization's 2021 operating budget, setting it at just over $305 million for the upcoming calendar year.
"The Board and DRPA leadership team has worked over the past several years to ensure that the organization runs efficiently and effectively," DRPA Chairman Ryan Boyer said. "This hard work is acknowledged by a budget that freezes tolls for our customers and ensures we have the necessary resources to maintain and enhance the public assets entrusted to the DRPA."
The DRPA projects that it will earn $306 million in revenue from bridge tolls and passenger rail fares on PATCO in 2021.
The authority's revenue projections for next year were made based on the belief that current COVID-19 pandemic travel habits will continue into 2021. Vehicular traffic on the bridges is forecasted to remain at 80% of what it was in 2019, while PATCO ridership is expected to stay at no more than 24% of pre-coronavirus pandemic levels.
The DRPA started only accepting electronic payments on its four bridges at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. Cash toll payments resumed for the first time during the ongoing public health crisis in May.