Turnpike Revenue Shoots Higher As Traffic Dips [AUDIO]
If you're driving on the Turnpike or the Parkway, and conditions don't seem quite as congested as they used to, you're not imagining things.
After tolls were increased 50 percent at the beginning of this year, Turnpike Authority spokesman Tom Feeney, says traffic volume on the Turnpike is down 2.6 percent and on the Parkway it's down 1.3 percent.
He says the drop is not surprising.
"We expected when you increase tolls that there's going to be an impact on traffic and traffic was going to decrease," says Feeney, "but there are other factors going on too…gas prices were 18 cents a gallon higher this Labor day than they were last labor day, and there's still issues with the economy that keeps traffic down."
But even with fewer cars and trucks using the toll roads, revenue has shot up.
With the higher tolls now in place, Feeney says, "Turnpike revenue - for the first 6 months of 2011 was about $322.2 million, and it's up to $487.7 million for the first 6 months of this year, and on the Parkway it was $131.9 million in 2011, and it's up to $196.1 million in 2012 ."
He adds the lower traffic volume is expected to rise back to normal levels in the coming months.
"We hope," says Feeney, "that those cars and trucks come back to the toll roads over time."