Fasten your seatbelts, a toll hike is coming, effective March 1, according to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
The average increase for passenger vehicles on the New Jersey Turnpike will be 15 cents. The average increase for passenger vehicles on the Garden State Parkway will be 5 cents, said Tom Feeney, a spokesman for the authority.
What will that mean for toll road drivers in Monmouth and Ocean counties?
As of March 1, the E-ZPass rate for passenger vehicles at mainline Parkway plazas where tolls are collected in one direction (Asbury Park, Barnegat, New Gretna) will increase by 7 cents to $2.09, Feeney said.
The E-ZPass rate for passenger vehicles at the mainline Parkway plaza where tolls are collected in both directions (Toms River) will increase by 3 cents to $1.04.
The rate for drivers paying cash at the Asbury Park and Barnegat tolls will increase to $2.20, while the new cash rate at the Toms River tolls will be $1.10.
The E-ZPass rate for passenger vehicles for most of the plazas on Parkway ramps where tolls are collected (Matawan, Keyport, Holmdel, Red Bank, Belmar/Wall, Brick, Lakewood, Berkeley, Forked River ) will increase by 3 cents to 73 cents.
The cash rate at those plazas will increase to 80 cents.
On Tuesday, the authority unanimously approved its 2024 budget, which has also been approved by Gov. Phil Murphy.
“By responsibly investing in the maintenance of our state’s highways and mass transit, we are continuing to prioritize the safety and mobility of all New Jersey residents and commuters,” said Bailey Lawrence, the governor’s spokesman.
The turnpike authority’s budget is nearly a carbon copy of the proposed 2024 budget vetoed by Gov. Phil Murphy in October that included the 3% toll hike.
Three months ago, Murphy said more “justification” for it and “more information for why the board (was) taking this step” was required. The governor’s subsequent veto came as members of both parties lamented that the hike was proposed at a time when New Jersey residents were struggling with the cost of living. It also came just 12 days before a critical election, when all 120 seats in the state Legislature were on the November ballot.
Phil Murphy on cost of living during 2024 State of the State Address
Gov. Phil Murphy’ discusses the current cost of living in New Jersey at the 2024 State of the State Address.
On Wednesday, 10th District legislators state Sen. Jim Holzapfel, and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and Paul Kanitra, all R-Ocean, criticized Murphy’s decision to now sign the authority’s $2.6 billion budget with the planned toll increases.
“This is typical of the Murphy administration — halt toll hikes during an election season then turn right around and approve them the next year,” McGuckin said in a release . “This increase is an insult to every driver, and an assault on the wallets of working families everywhere — especially those who live in coastal communities and commute to work every day on toll roads. New Jersey residents deserve more respect and consideration.”
More local headlines: Ocean County College spent $300,000 on administrative junkets to Egypt
Contact Asbury Park Press reporter Erik Larsen at [email protected].