The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission voted Dec. 10 to triple tolls collected on seven bridges that cross the Delaware River. The increase for tractor-trailers will leap from $4 to $16.25.
That's a 400 percent increase, which will cost owner-operators like OOIDA member Dwayne Litreal an extra $2,600 a year, and that's just for one bridge. Litreal regularly hauls containers of pet food and toys across the I-78 bridge between Easton and Phillipsburg.Two weeks after introducing the increase at its Nov. 19 regular meeting, the 10-member New Jersey-Pennsylvania joint agency held three public hearings - one on Dec. 3 and two on Dec. 4 - before approving the increase Dec. 10, just 20 days after its introduction.The toll increase is scheduled to take effect when E-ZPass opens on the bridges, tentatively scheduled for July. Just as easily as it passed the increase, the commission could reverse its decision if persuaded by overwhelming public outcry.
Please contact the commission's office and tell them that this toll increase will create undue hardship for owner-operators and small trucking businesses. Call, write or fax the commission's executive director: Frank G. McCartney, executive director, Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, 110 Wood Street, Morrisville, PA 19067; telephone (215) 295-5061; fax (215) 295-3337.
If at all possible, make plans to attend the commission's regular meeting Dec. 17, 2001, at 10 a.m. in the Directors' Room at the Operations/Maintenance Building adjacent to the New Hope-Lambertville Toll Bridge in New Hope, PA. Commission meetings are open to the public.
The five commissioners representing New Jersey are Harry G. Parkin, chairman; Hamilton Township; Gloria A. Decker, secretary-treasurer, Phillipsburg; Joseph B. Bellina, Yardville; Robert H. Mayer Sr., Sparta; and Andrew Tirpok Jr., Flemington area. Commissioners for Pennsylvania are: Hal W. Saxton, vice chairman, Bristol Township; Robert Flick, Mark S. Hoffman, Bethlehem Township; Janet Nicholson, Greentown; and Daniel S. Wassmer, Chalfont.
Commissioners are appointed by the governors - Donald T. DiFrancesco in New Jersey and Mark Schweiker in Pennsylvania - but the governors have no authority to veto the commission's decision. This is why, according to published reports, neither governor has taken a public position on the toll increases. Call, write or fax the governors and tell them to take a stand against the increases.
You can contact them at:
Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco, P.O. Box 001, Trenton, NJ 08625-0001; telephone (609) 292-6000; fax (609) 292-3454
Governor Mark Schweiker, 225 Main Capitol Bldg., Harrisburg, PA 17120; telephone (717) 787-2500; fax (717) 772-8284.