Opinion: Annual Toll Hikes Like a NJ Hit and Run
I’ll make this quick. What the toll authorities did Wednesday is despicable.
They not only significantly raised the tolls on the Turnpike, Parkway and AC Expressway, they did it by skirting the spirit of the law requiring a public comment period.
Plus, for the first time ever, they have approved annual toll increases based on an economic formula as long as the increase doesn’t go over 3%.
Worse, Governor Murphy is complicit in all this. By approving the minutes of yesterday’s meetings he signed off on the toll hikes and did so without comment.
They held public hearings when the public was being told to stay home to prevent the stress of coronavirus. They did this hoping no one would come. A public comment period for this toll hike process is mandatory by law. The way this was handled is unconscionable and Murphy could have stopped it but didn’t.
Look, I’m not naive, I know this was going to happen despite how many people showed up at meetings to scream out against it. They’ll do what they want because they can. But at least do the song and dance. At least have the decency to PRETEND to listen to us. This move is all the proof we ever needed that they never cared.
What’s even worse, for the first time ever toll hikes are now going to be automatic without your input. Every year based on an economic formula tied to inflation the tolls will go up as long as by no more than 3%.
The AC Expressway goes up 40%, the Turnpike 36%, and the Parkway 27%. The hikes come this fall. Then the yearly increases after that.