The New Jersey Turnpike Authority voted Wednesday to increase tolls on two of the state’s major highways and approve a $24 billion construction plan that the hike will fund.
The board's 7-0 vote came despite pleas from many people to delay it. They said the agency should not have gone ahead with the hearing process while residents are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
The construction plan includes $16 billion to widen sections of the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway, permanently implement cashless toll payment and replace a bridge between New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
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State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, a Democrat from Bergen County, specifically asked the board to “hit the pause button” on the highway widening plans, saying officials should wait to see what happens with travel patterns once the pandemic eases.
Tolls will increase Sept. 13 on the two main toll roads.
The authority has said tolls would rise by 36% on the New Jersey Turnpike, meaning the average trip which now costs $3.50 would rise to $4.80. Tolls on the Garden State Parkway would rise by 27%, meaning the average trip which now costs $1.11 would increase by 30 cents.