The first toll hike in 10 years on bridges maintained by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission received final approval on Monday and will take effect on April 11 with another increase coming in 2024.

The increase, called "toll adjustments" by the commission, will create a two-tier toll schedule for the first time on seven of its bridges. The toll for passenger vehicles using E-ZPass will go from $1 to $1.25 and jump from $1 to $3 for cash and "pay by plate" users.

E-ZPass tolls on the Scudder Falls Bridge (Route 295), which has had a two-tier system since tolls began to be collected in 2019, will stay at $1.25.

In 2024, the E-ZPass rate will jump to $1.50 but the cash rate will remain the same. The 20% E-Z Pass commuter discount applied for 16 or more trips on any commission bridge during a calendar year will end in 2024.

The tolls will still be less than those charged to cross the Delaware River south of Trenton.

The commission said the increases are needed to offset toll revenue drops due to the coronavirus pandemic, which will help fund already planned capital projects and ensure payment of financial obligations. Toll revenues were down 23.6% in 2020 on the toll bridges, a trend the Commission said has continued in 2021.

The Commission proposed the toll changes on Feb. 1 after a review of its toll schedules and opened a 26 day all online public comment period.

Like the New Jersey Turnpike Authority did for its toll hikes on the Garden State Parkway and Turnpike, the commission did not conduct in-person public sessions.

In 2019 the commission said 75% of all toll transactions were paid using E-ZPass.

The bridge affected are Trenton-Morrisville (Route 1), Scudder Falls (I-295), New Hope-Lambertville (Route 202), I-78, Easton-Phillipsburg (Route 22), Portland-Columbia, Delaware Water Gap (I-80), and Milford-Montague (Route 206). The commission also maintains 12 free bridges.

Scudder Falls Bridge (DRJTBC)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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