TRANSPORTATION

Toll Hikes Push Drivers to Seek Cheaper Routes

New Jersey’s toll increase of 50 percent, which went into effect at the start of 2012, has some motorists seeking alternative routes.

According to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, traffic on the state’s two major highways decreased in the first week of 2012 compared to a year ago.

Tom Feeney, spokesman for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, says 70,000 fewer vehicles drove on the Turnpike in the first five weekdays of the month, a 2.7 percent drop. The Garden State Parkway saw a similar decrease of 2.6 percent, with more than 100,000 fewer vehicles the first week of this month.

However, the Turnpike Authority actually projected a bigger drop in traffic when the toll raise went into effect. Feeney tells The Record that the Turnpike Authority anticipated a 4.2 percent drop in drivers on each road.

He said the agency should have a better indication of drivers’ response the hikes in a month.

The toll hikes are the second phase of a two-part increase approved in 2008 under then-Gov. Jon Corzine and are aimed at funding road and bridge projects.

Related: Parkway, Turnpike Drivers Will Pay More in 2012