🚗 Toll hikes were scheduled for Turnpike and Parkway drivers

🚗 Murphy has placed those toll hikes on hold

🚗 He could still decide to let them take effect

With New Jersey commuters already facing a massive congestion tax to enter Manhattan and toll hikes at the Hudson River crossings, a scheduled toll hike on the Turnpike and Parkway has been put on hold. For now.

Gov. Phil Murphy has vetoed the budget approved by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, according to NJ.com.

Turnpike Authority commissioners unanimously approved a $2.62 billion budget that included a 3% increase in all tolls.

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)(Google Maps)
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)(Google Maps)

Commissioners justified the toll hikes based on a budget increase of $100 million, which adds dozens of new employees to the payroll.

It would be the fourth toll hike in three years on both the Turnpike and Parkway.

Murphy reportedly wanted to see more information and justification for the toll hikes before signing off.

A spokesman for the Turnpike Authority told NJ.com Murphy has the information he requested.

What happens now?

Murphy has multiple options, but little time to consider them. The toll hikes, and the new budget, were to take effect Jan. 1.

Among the options:

🚗 Murphy can order the Turnpike Authority to create a new budget without toll hikes

🚗 Murphy can agree to allow a smaller toll hike

🚗 Murphy can delay the toll hikes to a later date

🚗 Murphy can agree with the justification, and allow the toll hikes to take effect as planned.

Getty Images/Townsquare Media illustration
Getty Images/Townsquare Media illustration

Commuters no longer have any say in the process

In May of 2020, the Turnpike Authority changed to an indexing system that streamlined the process of raising tolls.

While it caps the increase at 3%, it all but guarantees annual increases.

Since the change was made, tolls have gone up 3% every year.

attachment-Nick Scutari NJ Senate President

Legislation could change that, but has stalled

State Senate President Nick Scutari and state Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin issued a statement urging Gov. Phil Murphy to block the increase.

"Investing in New Jersey's vital transportation infrastructure is critical to our economic growth," Scutari and Coughlin said in a statement, "But as New Jersey families have been struggling with the effects of inflation, we have focused tirelessly on easing their burdens and ensuring affordability."

Despite Scutari and Coughlin saying they are opposed to this latest round of toll hikes, neither has taken steps to change the process or make the toll hikes less of a burden on drivers.

One bill pending in the New Jersey Legislature would give drivers either a tax credit or state income tax deduction for any tolls paid through the E-ZPass system.

attachment-Nick Scutari NJ Senate President (1)

Another bill would stop toll indexing for at least three years and roll back the most recent toll increases.

Neither Scutari nor Coughlin have allowed either bill to be heard in their house's transportation committees.

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