States increase tolls in response to budget problems

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In order to avoid financial shortfalls in road programs due to the coronavirus pandemic, a number of states have increased their tolls for cars and trucks, effective January 1.

Toll authorities announcing increases include states with heavy freight corridors such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York, as well as less commercially traveled states such as West Virginia.

The use of toll increases is widely viewed in some states as a good way to raise funds to support critical improvements to long-term capital programs. Some of the state’s increases include:

  • Effective Jan. 1, New Jersey officials added an overall annual increase of up to 3% on the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway. For larger trucks, the cost to cross the toll highway will increase by over $ 2 to $ 79.62. That price with an E-ZPass is $ 69.11.
  • In Pennsylvania, the most common toll for a 5-axle semi-trailer to travel the length of the state’s toll freeway will increase to $ 105.80 for E-ZPass customers and $ 212.40 for Toll By Plate customers. This is a 3% increase, with heavy trucks being treated the same as passenger vehicles, according to a spokesperson for the toll highway.
  • In New York City, starting January 1, NY E-ZPass fares for commercial vehicles on the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo will increase by 30% and align more closely with other major crossings in the New York metro area. For example, the toll for a 5-axle semi-trailer and a NY E-ZPass account will drop to $ 55.77 during rush hour in 2022, from $ 90 at the George Washington Bridge.
  • In West Virginia, heavy truck tolls on West Virginia Parkways were increased by 5% on January 1. The new fares require 6-axle trucks to pay $ 52.11 with E-ZPass and $ 60 in cash to cover the full length of the rides.
  • On November 1, 2021, Maine increased its toll rates. Heavy cash truckers traveling on Maine’s toll highway pay four times as much as a car. For example, the new spot rate for a 5-axle truck traveling from York Toll Plaza to Augusta – the entire length of the toll highway – has gone from $ 28 to $ 32 and from $ 32.05 to 36 .05 $ for a 6 axle truck. .

“No one likes an increase in tolls, especially those who make a living on the roads like our members do,” Brian Parke, president of the 1,600-member Maine Motor Transport Association, told Transport Topics. “But it’s hard to dispute the financial situation in which the pandemic has left the authority of the toll roads. And, truly to their credit, they have done what they can do to minimize the overall increase.”

An exit toll plaza on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. (Pennsylvania Toll Highway Commission)

The toll rate increases have not been welcomed by the U.S. trucking associations, which told a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee that the use of tolls to fund construction and infrastructure maintenance was “inefficient, dangerous and damaging to the trucking industry”.

“While the trucking industry is prepared to pay its fair share for improved infrastructure, we believe that tolls are not the right solution and that they can in fact be very harmful to our industry, our customers and , ultimately, for consumers, ”YRC Worldwide Inc. On September 11, CEO Darren Hawkins told the Highways and Transit Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In his testimony, Hawkins cited inefficiencies in toll collection, traffic diversion, and misdirection of toll funds as significant issues with tolling compared to other methods of financing.

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