February 1, 2024 | njspotlightnews.org
Credit: File Photo/NJ Turnpike Authority
A backlash is growing against proposed hikes in New Jersey Transit fares and turnpike and parkway tolls — increases that critics say can fall disproportionately upon those least able to pay.
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NJ SEED: Increasing tolls to help offset NJ Transit’s decreased ridership may be self-defeating. Higher fares often lead to a decline in riders. About 15% of the state’s workforce is commuters. It is important that safe and efficient transit services remain available for them, but the costs of providing communing services must be borne significantly by those who use them. The state should and does underwrite commuter services, but should 85% of the population be expected to pay for low cost services for the other 15%? Commuter transportation is a vital public service. Finding the appropriate cost sharing balance remains a challenge. As to increased tolls on the Turnpike and Parkway, painful as they are, they may be justified by the costs of widening projects.