New Jersey Governor Murphy Set To Give The Green Light To Toll Hikes
Trenton, NJ: Commuters in New Jersey will soon face higher tolls on the state’s roadways, as the Turnpike Authority has given the green light to across-the-board increases.
The board of commissioners has unanimously approved a $2.6 billion budget for 2024. As part of this budget, there will be a 3% toll increase for the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway.
Murphy is set to approve the Turnpike’s 2024 budget, which includes toll hikes, as confirmed by a spokeswoman. This decision comes after previously vetoing a similar proposal a few months ago.
“Investing in the maintenance of our state’s highways and mass transit is a top priority for us. We are committed to ensuring the safety and mobility of all New Jersey residents and commuters,” stated Bailey Lawrence, spokesperson for Murphy.
Starting from March 1, there will be an increase in tolls on the turnpike and parkway, as confirmed by Turnpike officials. The average increase will be 15 cents on the turnpike and 5 cents on the parkway.
Approval of the higher tolls marks a significant change for Murphy, the outgoing governor, who had previously voiced his opposition to a comparable budget proposal put forth by the transit agency.
In October, Murphy utilized a parliamentary maneuver to reject the plan by vetoing the meeting minutes of the Turnpike Authority, which included the proposals for toll hikes.
According to state law, Murphy has the authority to veto the budget due to his power in appointing board members, including the chairperson, and his ability to unilaterally overturn board actions. In 2019, he opposed the minutes of the Delaware River and Bay Authority, halting a $1 toll increase for the Delaware Memorial Bridge.
The reasons behind Murphy’s change of heart regarding the recent spending plan remain unclear, as his statement did not provide any explanation regarding the actions taken by the commission to address the governor’s concerns.
The Turnpike Authority’s previous budget proposal included a significant increase in spending from the previous year and the addition of over 40 new employees to the state agency.
Officials have announced that the toll hikes, originally scheduled for January, will be the fourth increase since 2000.
They will be implemented in conjunction with increased fares for the New Jersey Transit Authority. The authority recently disclosed a systemwide fare increase of 15%, set to take effect on July 1, marking the first hike since 2015.
In the near future, commuters traveling from New Jersey to New York will face a new toll as part of the city’s upcoming “congestion” pricing initiative. This plan will require a $15 fee for entering Manhattan below 60th Street.
Republicans strongly criticized the toll increases and accused Murphy of engaging in political maneuvering by initially vetoing them before the upcoming elections, only to change his stance later on.
“The toll increases are yet another example of Governor Murphy and fellow Trenton Democrats failing to keep their promises,” stated Senate Minority Leader Anthony Bucco. “Democrats persist in discussing affordability to attract diligent residents of New Jersey for their support, only to burden them with the consequences of their ineffective policies and financial mismanagement.”