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Toll Increase Possible On Garden State Parkway, and NJ Turnpike

gsp toll.jpgDeclining revenue on the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike could trigger toll increases on those roads, officials tell the Asbury Park Press. Revenue and traffic dropped on the Parkway and Turnpike for the first three months of 2008, a decline toll road officials blamed on increasing gasoline prices and a slowing economy.

With the New Jersey Turnpike Authority using $5.5 million from its reserve fund to cover that loss, officials are watching revenues, since a further decrease could trigger toll hikes to cover the authority’s debt.

“If there is a decline in revenues, the expectation of (the authority’s) bondholders is for them (the authority) to cover costs with tolls,” said Jonathan Peters, College of Staten Island associate professor of finance, who studies toll roads.

Authority officials said that an automatic toll increase would be triggered if the agency’s earnings fall below a certain ratio of its debt.

Tolls haven’t been increased since 1989 on the Parkway and since 2002 on the Turnpike. Unless traffic volume picks up, signs point to a possible toll increase.

(Source: Asbury Park Press)

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