Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin, representing New Jersey’s 10th District, have introduced a bill which would provide an income tax credit for tolls paid on state roads via E-ZPass. Under the bill, a taxpayer whose toll expenses exceed $1,000 per year would be eligible for a $1000 credit on their New Jersey income taxes.
“With this bill we are trying to put money back into the wallets of commuters who have seen relentless toll increases,” said Senator Holzapfel. “By providing commuters with a means to offset a portion of their commuting costs, our bill recognizes that these taxpayers are paying more than their fair share for transportation and economic development projects, while encouraging commuters to use E-Zpass.”
New Jersey residents experienced the most recent toll increase on January 1, 2012 during the second half of a two-phase toll increase adopted by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority under Governor Jon Corzine in October, 2008. The first increase at the end of 2008 raised Turnpike tolls 40 percent and Parkway tolls 43 percent.
“We opposed former Governor Corzine’s plan to increase tolls back in 2008 knowing that shore residents would not see any benefits from increased tolls,” said Assemblyman Wolfe. “We have been proven right in our opposition. Funds from increased tolls paid on the Parkway have been diverted to pay for transportation projects in other areas in the state. Our constituents in Brick and Toms River, who make up a large portion of toll-paying commuters in the state, deserve tax relief for shouldering the burden of funding transportation projects across New Jersey.”
Tolls increased substantially this January with a 53 percent increase on the New Jersey Turnpike and a 50 percent increase on the Garden State Parkway. The average passenger vehicle toll rose from $2.20 to $3.30 on the Turnpike and 70 cents to $1.05 on the Parkway.
“Over the years, substantial toll monies have been diverted to other transportation expenses and economic development projects which are not directly related to the cost of maintenance of tolled roadways. Commuters are essentially paying twice, once through their income taxes and again through the tolls they pay. Our tax credit for commuters recognizes that they shoulder a larger burden than they should through tolls for projects that benefit all of the people of the state,” added Assemblyman McGuckin.