For more than a decade, New Jersey commuters crossing into Pennsylvania have been used to paying five bucks to go over the Walt Whitman, Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross, and Commodore Barry bridges.

While there has been talk of raising that toll for years, the Delaware River Port Authority has always managed to balance its books without having to raise the cost to drivers.

It is possible the streak of no toll hikes for the 13-years could continue, but it is looking less likely.

Payment is coming due on nearly two dozen capital improvement projects including critical structure work on the Ben Franklin Bridge and a project to prevent the bridge's cables from rusting.

Ben Franklin Bridge Facebook/DRPA
Ben Franklin Bridge

Toll hikes may be unavoidable

On Wednesday, DRPA Commissioners took no action on raising tolls as they continue to review the agency's finances. They put off taking a vote until August.

Traffic on the bridges has been increasing, and toll revenue along with it, but the number of cars and trucks using the four spans still lags about 6% behind pre-pandemic levels.

Any proposed toll hike would be tied to the rate of inflation, which risen 3.4% over the last year.

Commissioners have the power to allow the toll hike to take effect or modify it to make it more commuter-friendly.

They could also defer the increase for another year as they have done for the last 13 years.

Commodore Barry Bridge Facebook/DRPA
Commodore Barry Bridge

How much would the toll be?

If the Delaware River Port Authority Commissioners allow the indexed toll hike to take effect as planned, drivers would be looking at an increase of $1.75 per trip.

That would take the current $5 toll to $6.75.

But again, commissioners could modify that number based on their final evaluation of the DRPA's finances.

Walt Whitman Bridge Facebook/DRPA
Walt Whitman Bridge

Delaware tolls far cheaper than Hudson tolls

Even if the full toll hike were to take effect this year, commuters who cross the Hudson River into New York City would consider it quite the bargain.

With the most recent toll hikes from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the toll to use the George Washington Bridge or Holland and Lincoln Tunnels is more than double the rate over the Delaware.

The Hudson River tolls are now $15.38 per crossing and will go up every year based on the rate of inflation.

George Washington Bridge
George Washington Bridge (John Moore, Getty Images)

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