With less than three months
remaining until the end of the regular session, state lawmakers in New Jersey could still discuss a handful of efforts related to toll rates.
The legislation would give drivers
on the New Jersey Turnpike and toll roads in the state a break on prices in
One bill would require the
Turnpike Authority to reduce toll rates for commercial trucks.
Sponsored by Assemblyman Bill
Baroni, R-Hamilton, 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 separate bill that would require toll-free passage on
state toll roads and certain interstates on federal holidays.
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, including 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 congestion."
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.
Another bill would limit the
direction in which tolls could be collected at certain toll plazas.
Sponsored by Assemblyman Jeff Van
Drew, D-Vineland, 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 facilitated."
Assemblymen Peter Biondi,
R-Somerville, and Joseph Malone, R-Bordentown, also are offering legislation
that would aid some turnpike users.
Their bill - A1318 - would
prohibit the Turnpike Authority from discontinuing peak-period discounts for
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 traffic
All four bills are in the Assembly
Transportation and Public Works Committee.
The Legislature is scheduled to
adjourn in January 2007. Any bill that doesn't gain approval prior to the end
of the session can be brought back for consideration next year.