YARDLEY, PA – Motorists and other members of the public still have one week to provide comment on a series of recently proposed toll adjustments for 2021 and 2024, the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC) announced today.
The Commission rolled out a two-stage system-wide toll restructuring plan on February 1 and has been gathering public input ever since. The public comment period on the proposed toll adjustments is scheduled to end 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26.
Individuals have three ways to weigh in on the proposed toll changes:
- Online: Go to the toll-comment form posted at drjtbc.org/tollcomments
- Toll-free answering service: 1-855-721-0444
- US Mail: address to Director of Community Affairs Jodee Inscho, DRJTBC Administration Building, 1199 Woodside Road, Yardley, PA. 19067 (Must be postmarked by Feb. 26 to be part of the official record.)
Anonymous comments will not be accepted. All eligible comments will be transcribed for inclusion in the public record to be reviewed by the DRJTBC’s board of commissioners prior to taking action (approve, modify and approve, or reject) on the proposed toll adjustments. Commissioners are expected to take up the matter at their March 29 meeting.
The proposed toll changes were developed in response to the deep traffic and revenue losses the agency has experienced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic recession it induced. Travel patterns in the Commission’s service area have changed as the pandemic, lockdowns and a fragile recovery have affected commuting, travel and shopping. Toll collections were $14.5 million less than projected in 2020; the declines have continued in 2021.
Recognizing the evolving revenue challenges, the Commission halted job hiring after February 2020, postponed new capital project starts, and cut discretionary spending lines 10 percent and froze salaries in the 2021 operating budget.
The proposed toll adjustment would address immediate financial concerns while enabling the agency to fulfill its service mission and pursue needed capital project for years to come.
The proposal would establish a two-tier toll structure that bases rates on the costs of a respective collection method. This is the prevailing tolling industry trend. E-ZPass customers would pay lower rates. Meanwhile, higher rates would be applied to drivers who pay cash at the agency’s seven oldest toll bridges. This policy of higher rates for non-E-ZPass transactions is already in effect for TOLL BY PLATE customers at the Commission’s new Scudder Falls (I-295) Toll Bridge all-electronic tolling point.
On average, more than 75 percent of the Commission’s toll transactions are now made through E-ZPass. Long term, the charging of comparatively lower E-ZPass rates should encourage more Cash/TOLL BY PLATE conversions to E-ZPass. Outdated E-ZPass discount programs would no longer be used to incentivize E-ZPass use.
The major proposed changes to the agency’s toll-rate schedules are summarized as follows:
- Provide a uniform toll schedule for the DRJTBC’s eight toll bridges at: Milford-Montague (Route 206), Delaware Water Gap (I-80), Portland-Columbia (Routes 611, 46 and 94), Easton-Phillipsburg (Route 22), I-78, New Hope-Lambertville (Route 202), Scudder Falls (I-295) and Trenton-Morrisville (Route 1).
- Establish a two-tier toll adjustment for Class 1 passenger vehicles on or after April 3, 2021; to $1.25 for E-ZPass, $3 for cash, and $3 for TOLL BY PLATE (Scudder Falls).
- Set the added toll for Class 1 passenger vehicles with bumper-hitch trailers in tow at $2 on or after April 3, 2021.
- Authorize the Class 1 E-ZPass passenger vehicle toll to be $1.50 on or after January 6, 2024.
- Maintain a frequency-based Class 1 E-ZPass commuter discount for 2021 through 2023 at 20 percent (applied retroactively on 16 or more trips across DRJTBC toll bridges in a calendar month with a Commission-affiliated E-ZPass tag) on or after April 3, 2021.
- Eliminate the Class 1 E-ZPass commuter discount in its entirety on or after January 6, 2024.
- Establish a uniform commercial vehicle rate table (Class 2 and above) and set new two-tier rates for trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles (defined as any vehicle with two or more axles and eight-feet or above in height) at $4.50 per-axle for E-ZPass, $5 per-axle for cash, and $5 per-axle for TOLL BY PLATE (Scudder Falls) on or after April 3, 2021.
- Eliminate the off-peak E-ZPass discount for commercial vehicles on or after April 3, 2021.
The following links provide additional information:
- Proposed toll adjustment schedules: drjtbc.org/newtolls
- Information and comments webpage: drjtbc.org/tollcomments
- Executive Director toll-hearing video presentation: https://youtu.be/Unj0WzeX-Z4
- Scudder Falls changes: http://www.drjtbc.org/wp-content/uploads/SFTB_toll_changes_2021_2024-1.pdf
- Other 7 toll bridges: http://www.drjtbc.org/wp-content/uploads/SFTB_toll_changes_2021_2024-1.pdf
- Car toll comparisons 2021: http://www.drjtbc.org/wp-content/uploads/Toll_Comparison_PVs_green.pdf
- Upcoming capital projects: http://www.drjtbc.org/wp-content/uploads/projects_doc_2021-2026_PDF-1.pdf