I had high hopes for this lawsuit, but a Superior Court judge rejected its claim that the $50 administrative fee the Turnpike Authority charges for toll violations is appropriate.

The lawsuit, filed in 2017 by two out-of-state drivers claimed that the fee was excessive since it didn’t cost the agency $50 to collect the missed tolls. It always seemed crazy to me that a missed $3 toll could turn into a $50 fine; I always felt that the fee was just a fine, but the judge disagreed.

According to New Jersey 101.5's report, Superior Court Judge Alberto Rivas, sitting in Middlesex County, ruled that the fee was “neither arbitrary nor capricious” and “fairly represents the cost incurred by the NJTA in processing and collecting a toll violation.”

The administrative fee had gone from $25 to $50 in 2011 and the lawsuit claimed that since then, drivers had been overcharged some $186 million dollars, since, the lawsuit claimed, it only took around $25 to process the toll violations.

“The $50 administrative fee is neither a fine nor represents unauthorized ‘profit,’” Rivas said. “The efforts expanded by the NJTA to collect a toll without assessing an administrative fee was credibly testified to at the hearing.”

The Appellate Division will now review the case, according to the plaintiffs’ attorney. The two drivers also filed a federal lawsuit that was put on hold until the state case was resolved, so I guess there’s still hope that New Jersey drivers might get a break on these onerous fees.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle only.

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