Tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike could go up an average $1.25 – and up to 30 cents higher on the Garden State Parkway – under new proposals that rolled out by the roadways’ governing agency last week.
Officials from the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, which oversees and maintains the two highways, want commuters to offer their two cents on potential toll hikes at three public hearings this month regarding the authority’s proposed capital plan and the toll rate adjustments necessary to fund it.
Those proposals were quietly announced on Feb. 25, at the same time that Gov. Phil Murphy was presenting his $40.9 billion budget proposal, with NJ Advance Media catching wind of the potential toll hike. Tolls on the two highways have not gone up since 2012.
The first hearing is scheduled for March 18 at NJTA’s Woodbridge headquarters at 1 p.m.
The toll increases would be indexed through 2022, tied to a variety of outside economic indicators, after which the hikes would be no more than 3 percent.
Under the proposal, drivers’ would see the creation of an exit 19W and the addition of a new toll plaza at the NJ Turnpike’s Western Spur, and bus riders would see several discounts phased out and replaced with a flat 40 percent rate.
Additionally, the increases would finance an ambitious plan of 52 projects along the roadways including the widening of several highway interchanges, and the transition to cashless tolling.
The plan also calls for the tolls to finance the addition of several new lanes in a Hudson County portion of the NJ Turnpike.
Ultimately, Gov. Phil Murphy flexed his power late last month to nix the toll increases, which he could do again by vetoing the meeting minutes of the NJ Turnpike Authority. He used that power in January 2019 with the Delaware River and Bay Authority when he nullified a toll hike they approved, according to NJ.com.