New Jersey bills would display toll fees, set up early voting

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Monday, November 26, 2012

Truckers and other drivers using E-ZPass on New Jersey toll roads could soon know for sure how much they are being charged to access the roadways. Another effort at the statehouse would provide an early voting option for residents.

The Senate Transportation Committee voted to advance a bill that would require technology to be installed on the New Jersey Turnpike, Garden State Parkway and Atlantic City Expressway to inform users of the actual amounts being charged to their accounts. Users now see a sign stating the toll has been paid.

Sponsored by Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, the “Truth in Tolling Act” specifies that the installation would be done during their next scheduled equipment upgrades.

Weinberg said that while E-ZPass has made getting on and off toll roads quicker, it has also made it more mysterious as drivers don’t always know how much they’re actually paying.

“Especially on a road like the turnpike, where tolls differ based on how far you drive, the amount taken from your account shouldn’t be a guessing game,” Weinberg said in a statement.

Exceptions would be made for toll booths from the state’s major bridges and tunnels. The booths are controlled by bi-state agencies and would require identical legislation to be passed in multiple states to take effect.

High-speed express E-ZPass lanes also would be exempted.

The bill – S1434 – now awaits further consideration on the Senate floor.

Another bill would allow voters to cast ballots up to 15 days before a primary of general election.

A total of 32 states offer some sort of early voting, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy early this month flooding reduced the options available for voters around New Jersey to cast ballots.

Sen. Nia Gill, D-Essex, said the current system for voting in the state limits the window to cast ballots at traditional polling places to one day.

“Our goal must be to ensure that all voters have an opportunity to have their voices heard,” Gill stated.

S2364 is awaiting assignment to a Senate committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Jersey, click here.

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