River and Bay commission recommends raising base toll from $4 to $5

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the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) Commission adopted a new toll schedule for the Delaware Memorial Bridge, increasing the rate for all classifications effective March 1, 2019.

The new toll rate schedule is expected to generate about $34 million in additional annual revenue that will fund the agency’s $440 million Capital Improvement Program.

The board action, which is subject to the New Jersey and Delaware Governors’ ten day review and consent period, took place at the bi-state agency’s monthly meeting held in James Julian Boardroom at the DRBA Administrative Complex.

The new toll schedule sets the rate for passenger cars and small trucks at $5 while commercial vehicles will pay $2 more per axle. The agency’s discount programs, commuter and frequent traveler, will also be adjusted for the second time in more than 30 years. The last general toll increase took place on July 1, 2011. Approximately 36 million vehicles annually travel across the bridge.

According to James N. Hogan, DRBA Chairman, the toll increase is essential to fund infrastructure improvements at the agency’s crossing facilities – primarily at the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

“As public stewards of important regional transportation assets, we must continue to make necessary and prudent infrastructure investments in our network of transportation services that benefits the traveling public,” said Vice Chairman Bill Lowe. “As a commission, we’re focused on maintaining and enhancing these vital transportation assets so future generations can enjoy them. It’s a responsibility we take very seriously.”

Earlier this month, the DRBA held public hearings in Delaware and New Jersey

As a result of the public hearings, the Commission made three adjustments to the original toll rate proposal: a reduction in the two –axle commercial class rate, which includes most RVs and dual tire pick-up trucks, from $7 an axle to $6; a $2.00 per trip frequent user fare instead of the proposed $2.25; and a change in the number of trips required for the commuter rate. With this new proposal, the number of trips in a 30 day period for the commuter plan decreases from 25 to 22.

The Delaware Memorial Bridge, which spans the Delaware River and connects two of the most heavily trafficked highway corridors in the Northeast, is the bi-state agency’s critical tolling asset and generates 75% of its operating revenue and 100% of net revenues.

The authority also operates the Cape May-Lewes Ferry and airports. The authority has worked to trim losses at the ferry. One ferry was sold and is now a reef at the bottom of the Atlantic.

The airports are supported by revenues from aviation rents, fees and services.

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