The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission is currently considering a two-stage system-wide toll adjustment to address significant — and continuing — traffic and revenue declines caused by the COVID-19 health crisis and to comply with the Commission’s financial resilience policy.  This page has been created to explain the process for public comment on the proposed toll adjustment before review and potential action by the DRJTBC’s 10-member Board of Commissioners. If approved, it would be the agency’s first system-wide toll adjustment in 10 years.

Process

1

The Commission publishes — on Feb. 1 — a public notice formally announcing the proposed toll adjustment(s) along with corresponding dates and times for virtual public hearings and the time and date that the public comment period will expire.  The proposed toll adjustment schedules and this webpage explaining the toll setting/comment process are published on this website for public viewing.  Comment submissions may begin via a toll-free phone line and through a form available on this webpage.

2

At least 10 days after publication of the public notice in designated newspapers published in the Commission’s Pennsylvania-New Jersey service jurisdiction, three remote/virtual public hearings will be conducted over a two-day period.  Comments at a public hearing will be limited to three minutes per person.  (People must pre-register with their full name and municipality/state of residence to provide comment at one virtual hearing.)  Public comment also will continue to be accepted via an online comment portal accessible from this webpage, through a special toll-free telephone number, and by U.S. Mail.

3

All testimony and comments will be gathered and reviewed by Commission staff. This record will be compiled into a report with accompanying staff responses and a summation of the collected public comments/testimony. Upon completion, this report and summary will be provided to DRJTBC Commissioners before deciding whether to approve, modify/approve, or reject the proposed toll adjustment(s).

4

Under the Commission’s toll-adjustment comment/hearing policy (established in 2013 and modified for remote/virtual hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic), the public also may provide comments during the monthly virtual meeting at which Commissioners decide to take action on the proposed toll adjustment(s).

Key Dates

February 1

Publication of Public Notice on the Proposed Toll Adjustments and the Hearings/Comment Period is published in newspapers that regularly publish the Commission’s meeting notices.  A webpage depicting the proposed toll adjustments for 2021 and 2024 is published.  This webpage explaining the comment/hearing process and other information related to the proposed toll increases also is published on the Commission website — www.drjtbc.org.  A 26-day public comment period begins with the Commission accepting comments via hearings, a special online comment portal, a toll-free Public Comment Hotline, and U.S. Mail.

February 10

Beginning of pre-registration period for making comments at a toll hearing through Zoom or via teleconference.  Registration information, Zoom links, and teleconferencing numbers and access codes will be published on this webpage.  Registrations will be accepted online through a form published on this webpage and through a second prompt added on this date to the toll-free phone number —  1-855-721-0444 — established for this proposed toll adjustment.

February 16

Pre-registration to comment at a virtual hearing ends at 4 p.m.

February 17

Two virtual hearings will take place via the online Zoom platform and a teleconferencing connection:  morning – 10 a.m. to noon; and evening – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

February 18

Virtual toll hearing 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. via Zoom and teleconferencing.

February 26

Public comment period on proposed toll adjustments ends at 4 p.m. EST.

March 29

10-member Board of Commissioners consider the toll adjustment, the compiled public comments, and make a decision. Commissioners may adopt the proposed toll adjustment, adopt it with modifications, or reject it. The public may provide comment – 3-minute time limit per individual – before action is taken.

April 3, 2021

On or after this date, the proposed toll adjustments for 2021 — if approved — would take effect.

January 6, 2024

On or after this date, the remaining changes of this proposed toll adjustment would take effect.

Public Comment during COVID-19

UPDATE:  The 26-day public comment period ended February 26.

To ensure public health and prevent the spread of coronavirus, a remote/virtual hearing process was utilized for this process. In-person testimony was not possible.  Hearings were held virtually – via Zoom – with a livestream available and teleconferencing.

Under Commission policy, additional methods were available for the public to provide comment:

  • Online: Toll comment portal on this webpage.
  • US Mail:
  • Toll-free phone number:

To be part of the public record, commenters were required to provide  — at a minimum — their first and last names  and their municipality/state of residence.

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Virtual Public Hearings

Three virtual public hearings were held to gather public comment.  Individuals were requested to register ahead of time to comment at public hearings, regardless of whether speaking online or via teleconferencing.  All comments will be transcribed and made part of the permanent record of this hearing/comment process.

Virtual Public Hearings – Registration, Dates, Access Link(s), and Teleconferencing

Verbal comments at hearings were limited to three minutes for each speaker.  Hearings were scheduled for two hours.  Each hearing was  intended to accept registrants until 120 minutes of speaker comments were scheduled.  Registrationwas on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Registrants could sign up for one hearing only.

UPDATE 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16:  Pre-registration has closed.  Unregistered attendees may still have an opportunity to comment at a virtual hearing after registered commenters have spoken and as time allows for additional speakers.

Registration

Both online and over-the-phone pre-registration for commenting at Virtual Public Hearings closed approximately 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16.

UPDATE 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16:  Pre-registration has closed.  Unregistered attendees may still have an opportunity to comment at a virtual hearing after registered commenters have spoken and as time allows for additional speakers.

Online toll-hearing commenters are required to provide their names and town/state of residence and an email address (for confirmation purposes).  Individuals providing comment via teleconferencing must provide their names, town/state of residence, and the last four digits of the phone number they will be using to make comment at a respective hearing.   Anonymous comments will not be accepted.

Zoom Hearing Links

Links and codes updated: 9:30 a.m. Feb. 10

UPDATE 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16:  Pre-registration for commenting at a virtual hearing has closed.  However, unregistered attendees may still have an opportunity to comment at a virtual hearing after registered commenters have spoken and as time allows for additional speakers.

Individuals seeking to watch and listen to the hearings need not register. 

(Don’t have Zoom? Use this link for the Zoom Downloads page — https://zoom.us/download.)

(Don’t have Zoom? Use this link for the Zoom Downloads page — https://zoom.us/download.)

Teleconferencing

Phone numbers and access information updated – noon Feb. 9

UPDATE 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16:  Pre-registration for speaking at a virtual public hearing has closed.  However, unregistered attendees may still have an opportunity to comment at a virtual hearing after registered commenters have spoken and as time allows for additional speakers.  Note: Individuals seeking to listen to the hearings via teleconferencing need not register.

Commenters speaking by teleconference must provide their first and last names, their municipality and state of residence, and the last four digits of the phone number they will use to access a respective toll hearing.

Bolded phone numbers below are toll free.

  • Wednesday, Feb. 17, 10 a.m. to noon —
    • To join the hearing by teleconference, please dial one of the following assigned phone numbers and enter the Webinar ID when requested:  833 548 0276 (Toll Free) or 833 548 0282 (Toll Free) or 877 853 5257 (Toll Free) or 888 475 4499 (Toll Free) or +1 312 626 6799  or +1 646 558 8656  or +1 301 715 8592  or +1 346 248 7799  or +1 669 900 9128  or +1 253 215 8782
      Webinar ID: 850 2525 2720
      Passcode: 303471 (if requsted)
  • Wednesday, Feb. 17, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. —
    • To join the hearing by teleconference, please dial one of the following assigned phone numbers and enter the Webinar ID when requested: or 833 548 0276 (Toll Free) or 833 548 0282 (Toll Free) or 877 853 5257 (Toll Free) or 888 475 4499 (Toll Free) or 1 301 715 8592  or +1 312 626 6799  or +1 646 558 8656  or +1 253 215 8782  or +1 346 248 7799  or +1 669 900 9128
    • Webinar ID: 868 6773 4872
    • Passcode: 608835 (if requested)
  • Thursday, Feb. 18, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. —
    • To join the hearing by teleconference, please dial one of the following assigned phone numbers and enter the Webinar ID when requested: 877 853 5257 (Toll Free) or 888 475 4499 (Toll Free) or 833 548 0276 (Toll Free) or 833 548 0282 (Toll Free) or +1 301 715 8592  or +1 312 626 6799  or +1 646 558 8656  or +1 253 215 8782  or +1 346 248 7799  or +1 669 900 9128
    • Webinar ID: 823 6936 5138
    • Passcode: 192205 (if requested)

More Toll Adjustment Information

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Toll Comparisons of Class 1 Passenger Vehicles

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Toll Comparisons of Class 2 Two-Axle Trucks

tollcomp-5

Toll Comparison of Class 5 Five-Axle Trucks

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Authority to Toll

tollprojects

Upcoming Projects to be Funded by Toll Proceeds

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Proposed Toll Changes for Scudder Falls Toll Bridge

tollchange-all

Proposed Toll Changes for Other Toll Bridges

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

I’m paying more money at the pump in gasoline taxes. Why is a toll increase being sought?

The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission does not receive any funding — gas taxes or otherwise — from its two jurisdictional states (Pennsylvania and New Jersey) or the federal government. Tolls are the solitary revenue source to run the Commission, its bridges and its other regional transportation facilities services.

How soon could these proposed toll rates go into effect?

If approved, the toll adjustment schedule proposed for 2021 is currently scheduled to take effect on or after April 3, 2021. The second schedule of proposed changes has limited changes, but is currently scheduled to begin on or after January 6, 2024.

How can I get E-ZPass to save money on tolls?

The Commission’s E-ZPass backoffice toll processor is the regional New Jersey E-ZPass Customer Service Center, which serves seven toll agencies operating or domiciled in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.  For more E-Pass information and a link to apply online, please click here.

How do Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission car tolls compare to other agencies?

The proposed 2021 rates would remain the lowest of any public agency along the Delaware River.  For long-distance freight carriers (18-wheel tractor trailers), the rates would remain the lowest along the river and competitive with other agencies in the region.  Please see the rate comparison documents above on this webpage page.  Click here for Class 1 personal vehicles below eight feet high.  Click here for two-axle vehicles eight feet and above in height.  Click here for five-axle vehicles eight feet and above in height.

Why can't I register before Feb. 10 to speak at a toll hearing?

A variety of preparations for the toll hearings still need to be completed.  More information on registering for a public hearing wil be posted on this webpage by Feb. 10.  Registrations will be accepted through an online form on this webpage or a special toll-free phone number established for this toll-comment process.  Registrations will be accept from Feb. 10 to 4 p.m. Feb. 17.

Why aren't in-person public hearings being used for this proposed toll adjustment process?

COVID-19.  Like other public bodies and workplaces in the United States, the Commission was compelled to temporarily suspend in-person meetings beginning in April 2020.  The virtual hearings scheduled for this proposed for this toll adjustment are consistent with the public health and disaster emergencies now in place in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  The virtual hearings further comply with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s continuing recommendations for the public to avoid large gatherings and to practice social distancing.

Why does the Commission use a portion of its toll proceeds to operate bridges that have no tolls at all?

Under New Jersey and Pennsylvania statutes and a corresponding Compact approved by Congress, the Commission is legally obligated to use a share of its toll proceeds to operate 12 older non-highway bridges that the Commission calls “toll-supported” bridges.  Click here for an expanded explanation of toll supported bridges.

What will the increased tolls be used for?

The toll actions — if approved — will be used to offset financial losses arising from COVID-19-pandemic-induced declines in toll traffic and revenue and from significantly reduced returns on investments.  The proposed adjusted tolls would enable the Commission to pursue a series of anticipated capital project starts, some of which were placed on hold in 2020 due to COVID-related funding concerns.  (Click here to access a document outlining a variety of those anticipated capital project proposals.)  The tolls also would help the Commission meet the stated aims the of its Financial Resilience Policy, adopted late last year in the wake of the COVID-influenced toll traffic and revenue declines.  The proposed adjustments would further protect the agency’s General Reserve Fund, the replenishment of which has been weakened by COVID-19’s recessionary effects.  Finally, the toll adjustments would strengthen the Commission’s ability to sell bonds at favorable rates in the future.  Like other toll agencies across the country, the Commission has been placed on a negative credit watch by bond-rating firms due to traffic and revenue losses brought on by the pandemic.

Why must I provide my first name and last name, and my municipality and state of residence to provide comment as part of this toll adjustment process?

To be included in the public record to be presented to the DRJTBC’s Board of Commissioners before taking action on the proposed toll adjustments, its imperative individuals provide their full names and the town and state where they reside.  Anonymous comments will be disregarded and will not be included in the public record.  The identification process is much akin to the letter-to-editor and oped submission requirements of daily newspapers.

When was the Bridge Commission's last toll adjustment?

The Commission’s last system-wide toll adjustment occurred in 2011.  The Commission approved a toll adjustment in September 2016, but that action applied only to setting tolls for the new Scudder Falls (I-295) Toll Bridge, which opened to traffic in July 2019.

Will the Commission's E-ZPass discounts remain in effect?

Yes and no.  The Commission proposes to maintain a frequency-based commuter discount for Class 1 personal vehicles that record 16 or more tolled trips across Commission bridges in a calendar month, but the discount would be trimmed to 20 percent from 40 percent.  This discount is transponder specific and can only be applied to E-ZPass accounts administered by the entity that processes the Commission’s toll transactions — the regional New Jersey E-ZPass Customer Service Center.  This proposed change would take effect of or after April 3, 2021.

Also, on or after April 3, 2021, the Commission would eliminate its 10 percent off-peak discount for commercial vehicles (Class 2 and greater).

The proposed 2024 toll schedule, meanwhile, would completely eliminate the remaining 20-percent E-ZPass frequent commuter discount in its entirety starting on or after January 6, 2024.