Drivers along three major highways in New Jersey should expect to dig a little deeper in their pockets beginning this weekend.
Toll hikes along the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway, and Atlantic City Expressway take effect Sunday after approvals in May and an official sign-off from Gov. Phil Murphy in June. The increases, which have met with opposition in recent months as financial impacts from the pandemic continue to burden residents, will help fund construction projects.
Increases will average 27% on the Garden State Parkway and 36% on the turnpike, said Turnpike Authority spokesperson Tom Feeney. The cost of an “average trip” on the Atlantic City Expressway will increase by 37%, according to the Atlantic City Press.
A breakdown of the Garden State Parkway, New Jersey Turnpike, and Atlantic City Expressway toll changes can be found online. Late-season Shore goers can expect to fork over an additional $1.25 at the Atlantic City Expressway’s Egg Harbor Toll Plaza, for example.
The increases will in part be used toward multimillion-dollar capital projects, including the South Jersey Transportation Authority’s $500 million plan that widens the Atlantic City Expressway, according to the Press.
The authority’s hike will pay for a $26 billion plan that widens roadways and funds a cashless toll payment system, the Associated Press reported.
“I think the Turnpike Authority should be pushing the pause button on the road-widening aspect,” State Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D., Bergen) told commissioners in May. "In my opinion, the resources should go into mass transit. I urge the commissioners to take a pause to see what will happen to our travel pattern post COVID-19.”
It’s not just tolls that will be increasing. New Jersey’s gas tax rises about 9 cents a gallon beginning next month.
“I said from the get-go we weren’t going to kick the can down the road anymore on infrastructure,” Murphy said of the increases along the Garden State Parkway and the turnpike during a news conference in May. “This is what it is, and it sort of extracts politics. Now, there’s going to be a plan and it’s, I believe, the right plan.”