Tolls Rising, Carpool Discount Eliminated, at Port Authority Crossings

NEW YORK -
port authority toll, george washington bridge toll
A toll plaza at the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

Motorists are about pay steeper tolls to cross bridges and tunnels run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

On January 5, 2020, tolls will rise at the George Washington, Bayonne and Goethals Bridges, Lincoln and Holland Tunnels and Outerbridge Crossing, to $16 cash, $13.75 with E-ZPass during peak hours, and $11.75 with E-ZPass during off-peak hours. The previous rates were $15, $12.50 and $10.50.

On the same day, the EZ Pass carpool-discount program – in which cars with three or more occupants paid just $6.50 – will end at the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel and Holland Tunnel, as the Port Authority transitions to a cashless-tolling system.

The Bayonne Bridge, Goethals Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing have already moved to cashless tolling and discontinued the carpool discount.

Under the cashless tolling system, cameras and sensors record a vehicle’s EZ Pass number or license plate, eliminating delays associated with stopping at toll booths.

However, “there is no broadly accepted technology that can accurately and reliably count occupancy in an open-road tolling system,” a Port Authority spokesman told Hamodia. “If reliable technology becomes available in the future, we can revisit the decision to discontinue the carpool discount.”

U.S. Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) are urging the Port Authority to reconsider its plan to eliminate the carpool discount.

In a letter Monday to Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole, the congressmen write that “several toll systems, including FasTrak in California, and pilot programs in Massachusetts and Georgia, are currently utilizing technology with the capability to track multiple passengers in [a] cashless camera-enforced toll system. We hope you will investigate and consider implementing that technology,” and “pause plans to eliminate the current carpool rate until a suitable solution for commuters can be implemented.”

The Port Authority spokesman told Hamodia that the agency “would like to meet with the congressmen to discuss these technologies and whether they can accurately and reliably work on the cashless tolling system we will deploy.”

Less than three percent of drivers use the carpool discount.

rborchardt@hamodia.com