Murphy Veto Nixes Toll Increase On Delaware Memorial Bridge
Gov. Phil Murphy found a cost to consumers he doesn't want to increase: tolls on the Delaware Memorial Bridge.
The Delaware River and Bay Authority was planning to increase the toll on the twin span between New Jersey and Delaware to $5 on March 1. That would have brought in $34 million to fund the agency's capital improvement project.
Most of the planned work was on the bridge but also included transfer bridge repairs at the Cape May – Lewes Ferry ($4.3 million) and the Ferry Repowering Program ($9.5 million), which is what led to Murphy's veto of the increase.
"As was expressed to the board and the executive director on numerous occasions since my inauguration, I am not ready to support any toll increases at the Delaware Memorial Bridge that extend beyond the Bridge's critical safety enhancements," Murphy wrote in his veto letter to the DRBA.
Tolls were last increased on the bridge in July 2011.
It's not clear what the DRBA's next move will be.
"The Authority’s leadership is committed to meeting its fiduciary responsibilities and resolving any misunderstandings with open and honest communications. We’re hopeful that we can meet with the Governor Murphy’s staff in an effort to move forward with a workable resolution to the issues," DRBA spokesman James Salmon said in a statement.
Delaware Gov. John Carney called Murphy's veto "concerning" but remained optimistic the two Democrats can reach an agreement.
"My hope is that we can work with the DRBA, Governor Murphy and his team to come up with a solution," Carney said in a statement.
About 36 million vehicles use the bridge every year.
Murphy OK'd a scheduled increase in New Jersey's gas tax last fall after a revenue shortfall that resulted from a drop in gasoline consumption. The governor has also said he can't guarantee NJ Transit fares won't rise after June 30.