lawmakers have been giving toll rates a lot of attention in the days since the
2006 session opened.
Four bills introduced in the Assembly would give drivers on the New
Jersey Turnpike and toll roads in the state a break on prices in certain
Sponsored by Assemblyman Bill Baroni,
R-Hamilton, a bill would require the Turnpike Authority to reduce toll rates
for commercial trucks. The bill – A688 – is intended to encourage truck drivers
to use the toll way instead of local routes, such as U.S. 1, 206 and 31.
Baroni wrote “the increased use
of local highways by commercial trucks creates hazardous driving conditions for
motorists and increases the wear and tear” on highways that “were not designed
for the present volume of commercial trucks.”
Assemblyman John Rooney, R-Emerson, has offered a bill that would
require toll-free passage on state toll roads and certain interstates on
The bill – A1105 – would prohibit the Port Authority of New York and
New Jersey and the Delaware River Port Authority from imposing tolls on federal
holidays, such as New Year’s Day, July Fourth, Labor Day, Veterans Day,
Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Rooney wrote that “substantial traffic delays occur on heavily traveled
holidays in part because motorists must wait to pay tolls. This bill would
provide toll-free passage on these holidays in order to relieve traffic
Loss of toll revenue on these holidays would be offset by lower labor
costs, he said.
New York and Pennsylvania would be required to adopt similar rules for
the affected routes that run in their states.
A separate bill would limit the direction in which tolls could be
collected at certain toll plazas.
Sponsored by Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew, D-Millville, the measure –
A1058 – would require the Turnpike Authority to collect tolls only in the
southbound direction at the Great Egg and Cape May barrier toll plazas on the
Garden State Parkway. Toll booths in the northbound direction would be removed.
Van Drew wrote that “by requiring the authority to discontinue
northbound toll collections at those plazas in favor of southbound collections,
emergency evacuations from the Shore area in the northbound direction will be
Assemblymen Peter Biondi, R-Somerville, and
Joseph Malone, R-Bordentown City, also are offering legislation that would aid
some turnpike users.
Their bill – A1318 – would prohibit the Turnpike Authority from
discontinuing peak-period discounts for E-ZPass
The lawmakers wrote that “the effect of taking away the discount will
be a toll increase for E-ZPass users and the removal
of an incentive to use E-ZPass during peak periods of
All four bills are in the Assembly Transportation and Public Works
-- Keith Goble, state legislative