All I can say to Brooklyn residents who want to venture into New Jersey to shop or visit is this: It will cost you!
With this latest increase in tolls — yes, another one — you’ll have to buck-up $30 just to go to the Garden State if you don’t have an EZ-Pass.
Those benevolent members of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have allowed for a tiny discount for those using EZ-Pass, but with a hitch. you need to travel in off-peak hours, or lots and lots of times.
As of last Sunday, it is no longer affordable to take a hop and skip over the rivers and through the woods to visit our neighbor to the west. And how very special of the authority to raise the rates during the holiday shopping season when savvy shoppers flock to New Jersey to all those malls and outlets to save a bit on the sales tax gas. Whatever savings you might have realized is now blown away in tolls. That doesn’t even begin to add to the cost of a summer vacation to the Jersey Shore beaches, even more expensive from last year, and that was expensive enough.
It is really sad when you think about how we citizens were bamboozled when the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was built. I remember my dad saying “You wait and see, when the bridge is paid off it will be free, no more toll.” Sorry, Dad, but that never happened. In fact, we have probably paid for the bridge many times over and there is no freebie crossing in site.
Members of the authority have stated that there will be no more raises for the foreseeable future, but how foreseeable are we talking about? After all, this was the fifth hike since 2012. Really? Five raises in three years. Don’t you think that it’s a bit excessive?
For those of you with deep enough pockets to go, here’s the breakdown: $15 for cars and motorcycles during peak hours, but a break for using EZ-Pass during “off-peak” hours. So I ask you when exactly is “off-peak” hours? You figure it out, but “peak” hours are weekdays from 6 to 10 am and from 4 to 8 pm, and weekends from 11 am to 9 pm. And how much of a break are we talking about? From $15 down to $12.50. Wow, what a break.
The rates raised higher than a high-flying kite last week and affected the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel, Goethals Bridge, Outerbridge Crossing and the Bayonne Bridge.
Not for Nuthin™, but I guess we are just going to have to stay in our own backyards, or consider selling a kidney every time we want to take a trip to the main-land.
Follow me on Twitter @JDelBuono.