Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission's new toll rates effective July 1

| Friday, March 29, 2002

Truckers are far from happy about the new rates due to take effect in conjunction with the availability of EZ Pass targeted for July 1, 2002. The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission approved the plan that provides major bridge rehabilitation, installation of EZ Pass and state of the art bridge security and surveillance on Dec. 10, 2001.

The new toll rate structure approved by the commissioners will fund a 10-year, $526 million dollar Capital Improvement Program for protection, preservation, management and enhancement of the 20 bridges DRJTBC maintains and operates.

"The safety and convenience of those who use our bridges is our top priority," stated Frank McCartney, executive director of DRJTBC. "The additional revenue will allow us to fund the necessary capital investments in our system."

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 other 13 bridges within the DRJTBC jurisdiction will remain "free bridge" status.

"Relieving traffic congestion and improving air quality were two of our major goals in developing our capital investment plan," commented Harry G. Parkin, chairman of the DRJTBC. "The implementation of EZ Pass will allow us to meet both goals, while also allowing for economic growth in our region. Expanding our regional economy requires improved traffic flow and a modern bridge system."

The installation of EZ Pass will allow DRJTBC to process 1,200 vehicles per hour, compared to 400 vehicles per hour using the current system of automatic coin lanes, thereby reducing commuter time.

The plan also contains major public safety components, including needed repairs on all bridges and investments in major structural and technological improvement to enhance commuter protection from accidents and terrorist threats.

Toll rates last changed for commuters in 1982 and truck and cash fare vehicles in 1988.

The DRJTBC, formed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and state of New Jersey in 1934, operates 20 bridges over the Delaware River from Trenton-Morrisville to the New York border.

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