TRENTON, NJ - New Jersey motorists and interstate truck drivers will have to deposit more money in their EZ Pass accounts by September as the New Jersey Turnpike Authority on Wednesday voted unanimously in a virtual meeting to increase tolls by 27 percent on the Garden State Parkway and 36 percent on the New Jersey Turnpike.
The toll hikes go into effect Sept. 13.
Gov. Phil Murphy expressed his support for the increases during his daily COVID-19 press briefing Wednesday
“I’ve said from the get-go we weren’t going to kick the can down the road anymore on infrastructure. This is what it is. Now there is going to be a plan and I believe the right plan,” Murphy said.
The cost to drive from Exit 1 at the southern terminus of the turnpike north to Exit 18W, which now costs $13.85 for a passenger car, will increase to $18.85; truckers, who now pay $56.85 in tolls for their 42-footers, will soon be paying upwards of $77.30 for that same trip.
Parkway tolls for passenger vehicles at the plazas on both the northbound and southbound lanes will increase from $1.50 to $1.90, Tolls at the Toms River plaza will increase from 75 cents to 90 cents.with off-ramp tolls - now costing between 50 cents and $1.50 - increasing from 65 cents to $1.90.
Truck tolls will go from $9 to $11.45 at the plazas, off-ramp tolls, now costing between $3.25-$9, will increase to $4,15-$11.45.
State Sen. Kip Bateman, R-16th, is highly critical of the increases and the manner in which they were approved.
“Bureaucrats who control our highways are quietly fast-tracking massive toll hikes on New Jersey drivers when nobody is looking,” Bateman said. “While our daily commutes may look different today, these toll increases will slam drivers with higher costs as our state reopens, making New Jersey an even more expensive place to live, work, and raise a family," he added.
"There has been nothing transparent about the process. It’s absolutely shameful.” Bateman said.
The increases are expected to pay for widening projects on both toll roads, costing $24 billion.
Other Republican lawmakers also expressed their displeasure with the toll hikes.
Republican Sen. Christopher Connors, and fellow Republicans Assemblyman Brian Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne Gove, said the timing of the hearings was a "disservice to the public."
“Most residents are understandably largely focused on matters related to COVID-19, particularity social restrictions and economic impacts,” they said in a joint statement. “Holding the hearings was a disservice to the public who, understandably, a large segment of who would not have been aware that the hearings were being held let alone that proposed toll increases were the topic of discussion. State residents have every right to question the state’s decision to hold hearings given the unprecedented circumstances.”
Another joint statement calling the increases "truly unconscionable" was issued by Sen. Declan O’Scanlon, Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso,and Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger, all Monmouth County Republicans.
“Currently, people are completely occupied worrying about their health, lives, and livelihoods,” they said. “Over a million residents have applied for unemployment.”
Also yesterday, the South Jersey Transportation Authority voted to increase tolls on the Atlantic City Expressway an average of 57 cents at each plaza to raise $500 million to pay for widening of a 13-miles stretch of the multi-lane highway, a major link between Atlantic City and Philadelphia.