New Jersey Turnpike Authority OKs toll hikes

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Following a public meeting, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority on Friday, Oct. 10, approved a recently revised plan for toll increases following Gov. Jon Corzine’s request to lessen the burden on families in the state.

Under the newly adopted plan, the toll for the average truck trip on the New Jersey Turnpike will increase by $2.05 this year and $3.75 in 2012. The toll for the average truck trip on the Garden State Parkway will increase by 60 cents this year and 95 cents in 2012.

Under the authority’s previously proposed toll plan, the average truck trip on the New Jersey Turnpike would have increased by $2.55 this year, $3.80 in 2012, and $1.15 by 2023. The toll for the average truck trip on the Garden State Parkway would have increased by 55 cents this year, 95 cents in 2012, and 30 cents by 2023.

The new plan also provides an across-the-board 5 percent off-peak E-ZPass discount to all truck drivers using the Turnpike and Parkway. “Truck drivers are experiencing added financial pressures due to the high cost of diesel fuel,” Turnpike Authority Chairman Kris Kolluri wrote in a letter to Corzine dated Tuesday, Oct. 7. “Reducing truck drivers’ financial burden and encouraging them to travel during less congested travel times and to continue to use the Turnpike and Parkway, rather than local roads, are important objectives.”

Kolluri wrote that the revised rates were drafted “in response to the current economic conditions as well as the public comments gathered at three public hearings and written comments.” The plan funds a $7 billion 10-year capital plan and makes a $1.25 billion contribution to the Transportation Trust Fund Authority for a mass transit tunnel between New Jersey and New York.