May 27, 2020
Tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway will be increasing Sept. 13 as part of an initiative to fund a $24 billion construction plan.
The measures were unanimously approved by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority board in a 7-0 vote Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.
Tolls will be going up by 36% on the New Jersey Turnpike — increasing the average trip cost from $3.50 to $4.80 — and by 27% on the Garden State Parkway, increasing the average trip cost from $1.11 to $1.41.
Atlantic City Expressway tolls will increase by an average of 57 cents too.
The capital project funded by the increases will include improvements to highways, bridges and tolls on the Turnpike and Parkway.
About $16 million will be allocated to widening certain sections of the highways, permanently implementing electronic toll payments and replacing the Delaware River-Turnpike Toll Bridge connecting Burlington County, New Jersey to Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
New Jersey is moving ahead with the toll increases despite pleas to delay them due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Gov. Phil Murphy, who approved the toll hikes, said the increases and capital project are critical to bolstering the state's economy in wake of the pandemic.
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority, which oversees both roadways, has not raised toll prices since hiking them by 53% in 2012. The Turnpike Authority initially said that its $1.8 billion budget would not include a toll increase.
Tolls comprise the Turnpike Authority's main source of revenue. It earned more than $1.6 billion in revenue from tolls during 2019 – about 86% of its revenue.
Toll increases are commonplace in Pennsylvania, where the state's Turnpike Commission has approved 12 consecutive toll hikes. The latest was a 6% increase that took effect in January 2020.
That increase raised the common toll for a passenger vehicle from $2.30 to $2.50 for cash customers and from $1.40 to $1.50 for E-ZPass drivers. Class-5 tractor trailers saw their toll prices jump from $3.70 to $4.00 for E-ZPass users and from $16.30 to $17.30 for cash users.