Toll revenue for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and Garden State Parkway continues to be on the decline in 2011, but officials are not ready to push the panic button.
Through October, money coming in dropped about 5% from the NJTA’s target of $990 million. The snowstorm in October cost the agency $1 million, and the loss of funds from Hurricane Irene continues to be felt. Unemployment and high gas prices were other factors.
However, in a meeting on Nov. 29 NJTA Chairman James Simpson did offer a bit of reassurance.
“The situation is not dire,” he said. “We have enough money to meet all of our obligations. “If this carries out over the next four or five years it gets to be a lot of money.”
A certain degree of financial relief will come at the start of 2012, but it will be at the expense of motorists. On Jan. 1, tolls will increase 53% on the Turnpike and 50% on the Parkway under a plan approved back in 2008.