New legislation would make toll prices more visible for NJ motorists.

Flickr user: JacobEnos

Legislation to require the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the South Jersey Transportation Authority to install electronic displays at the collection points on every EZ-Pass toll lane of the state’s three toll roads to show the toll amount paid by EZ-Pass users when they pass through a toll has passed the Assembly Transportation Committee today.

“There have been countless times when I’ve driven through an EZ-Pass lane and had no idea how much I just paid in toll fare,” says Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, one of the bill’s sponsors. “Cash-strapped commuters should know full well how much they’re paying so they can decide for themselves whether they’d like to take a different route.”

The measure is also sponsored by Assembly members Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Gordon Johnson. All three lawmakers say EZ-Pass users are often unaware of the amount of money being deducted from their EZ-Pass accounts when they pass through tolls. The displays will enable EZ-Pass users to make more informed choices about whether to use toll roads.

“I’m sure there are countless commuters out there who don’t know for months how much they’re paying in tolls until their EZ-Pass statement shows up,” says Vainieri Huttle. “You wouldn’t walk into a store and buy something without knowing the price so it’s only fair that toll prices be featured prominently.”

The requirement wouldn’t apply to points at which tolls are collected at bridges, tunnels, or through high speed gantries. The toll road authorities shall determine the technology to be used for the displays and the cost of the installation.

“Commuters sometimes have no idea how much they’re paying in tolls until they get hit with an automatic deduction from their bank account to replenish their EZ-Pass account,” says Johnson. “If you’re on a tight budget, knowing how much you’re paying in tolls can mean the difference between overdrawing your bank account and staying on balance.”