The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission has provided safe, dependable and efficient river crossings between the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey for over 75 years. The Commission's core mission is to maintain and improve its inventory of 20 bridges -- 7 toll bridges and 13 toll-supported bridges, two of which are pedestrian-only facilities. The agency is committed to enhancing public safety and commuter convenience while demonstrating responsible environmental stewardship and fiscal accountability.
The Commission is a quasi-public service-oriented agency, operating as a self-funded entity without any tax revenues from either of its two jurisdictional states or the federal government. Funding for the operation, maintenance and upkeep of its bridges and other structures is solely derived from revenues collected at its toll bridges. The agency has roughly 350 employees. It collected about $104.2 million in toll revenues in 2011. The Commission's 2011 operating budget was $47.4 million.
The Commission's territorial jurisdiction extends from the Philadelphia-Bucks County line to the New Jersey/New York state border. There are three "exception bridges:" the Burlington-Bristol Toll Bridge owned by the Burlington County Bridge Commission; the Delaware River Bridge linking the two state turnpikes; and the Dingman's Ferry Bridge, a privately owned span between Pike County, PA. and Sussex County, N.J.. In addition to its 20 Delaware River crossings, the Commission owns and operates an additional 34 approach structures (smaller overpass/underpass type bridges) throughout its river region.
A major change to the bistate compact came in 1984 when the two states charged the Commission with assuming full financial responsibility for the non-toll bridges within its jurisdiction. Prior to that time, the costs of operating and maintaining the non-toll bridges were financed by appropriations from Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey through state-levied taxes. Since toll revenues currently provide the sole source of support, the Commission now refers to these bridges as toll-supported bridges.
A board of 10 commissioners -- five from each state -- governs the Commission. The New Jersey members are nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the state Senate for three-year terms. The Pennsylvania members are appointed by the governor and serve at his pleasure.
The commissioners meet monthly to review reports, provide oversight and set policies carried out by the Executive Director and professional staff. Standing committees on Finance, Human Resources, Projects & Property, and Professional Services include membership from both states as assigned by the Commission Chairman. The Commissioners serve without compensation.
Recognizing its unique position in the economic and social fabric of the dozens of waterfront communities in its 140-mile Delaware River jurisdiction, the Commission seeks to work in a coperative manner with the communities that host the agency's bridges. The agency conducts public involvement programs with its major projects and it engages in partnering endeavors where feasible with host municipalities.
The Commission also is conducting a comprehensive effort to improve, rehabilitate and expand its network of bridge facilities through a $1.1 billion Capital Improvement Program. Many of these projects are providing short-term and long-term economic dividends for local communities along the river.
While the Commission's major responsibility is ensuring the safe travel of New Jersey and Pennsylvania residents and the efficient movement of commerce between the two state, the DRJTBC's federal Compact provides for a broader mission. It empowers the Commission to evaluate the need for and the feasibility of additional river crossings within its jurisdiction and to plan and construct new infrastructure. It authorizes the Commission to foster economic development within the nine counties that are included or partly included in its bistate jurisdiction. And while it has never been exercised, the Compact also allows the Commission to construct port and terminal facilities as a means of promoting economic development.
60 YEARS AGO TOMORROW, WORST DELAWARE RIVER FLOOD IN HISTORY DESTROYED FOUR COMMISSION BRIDGES