NORTHERN NEW JERSEY - Plans to protect George Washington Bridge carpool toll discounts are being considered, according to Congressman Josh Gottheimer's office, after the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is set to eliminate the carpool toll discount starting January 2020.
"Under the current plan starting in January, the $6.50 reduced carpool rate to cross the GWB will become a thing of the past," Gottheimer said. "That will be a real hardship on too many people just trying to make ends meet."
"At a maximum of $15, tolls on the GWB are already some of the highest in the country," he said, "making the simple act of commuting to work unaffordable for many New Jersey residents."
Gottheimer (NJ-5) announced plans on Dec. 2, along with fellow New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-9), to urge the Port Authority to reverse course on its proposal to eliminate the carpool toll discount on the George Washington Bridge (GWB) starting in January 2020. The Port Authority has stated carpool rates have to be eliminated due to new cashless tolling camera technology, which will not be able to capture how many people are actually in a vehicle. However, the technology exists and is being used right now in California, Georgia, and Massachusetts. Gottheimer and Pascrell released a letter today to the Port Authority Chairman requesting they explore all available technology to allow for carpool rates to remain intact with cashless tolling and to pause plans to eliminate the current carpool rate until a suitable solution for commuters can be implemented.
Under PANYNJ’s new proposal, carpool drivers – those with at least three people in the car – will lose their discount and pay an additional new carpool tax of $2,125 annually.
Every day, 289,000 people drive in and out of Manhattan over the George Washington Bridge from Bergen County and from all over New Jersey. Without the incentive for drivers to carpool, which dates back to 1974, there will be more cars on area roads, increasing traffic, making commute times worse, and increasing emissions into the environment, Gottheimer's office said in a press release yesterday.