Delaware River bridges hike tolls, truckers' costs soar

| 1/25/2002

The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission has approved a plan to add EZPass technology and hike tolls at seven bridges to pay for improvements to bridges and for increased security since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The cost to truckers crossing the bridges will more than triple.

The new toll rate approved by the commission will fund a 10-year, $526-million improvement plan for security upgrades, bridge maintenance and modernization, management and enhancement of the 20 bridges DRJTBC maintains and operates. The plan is scheduled to take effect in conjunction with the availability of EZPass targeted for July 1.

Per-axle tolls on trucks crossing the Trenton-Morrisville bridge will increase from 50 cents to $2.25 for 2002 and 2003. In 2004, tolls will rise to $3.25. Per-axle costs on the New Hope-Lambertville (Route 202), Interstate 78, Easton-Phillipsburg (Route 22), Portland-Columbia, Delaware Water Gap and Interstate 80, and Milford-Montague bridges will more than triple from $1 to $3.25. Cash tolls for cars will double from 50 cents to $1 on four of the bridges and from $1 to $1.25 on the rest. The remaining 13 bridges within the DRJTBC jurisdiction will remain "free bridge" status.

The commission expects toll receipts to jump from the current $32 million in tolls per year to $69 million in the first year of the increase. They are expected to hit $105 million in the second year.