Over the past couple of years, tolls have gone up significantly on the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway, as well as at Port Authority bridges and tunnels. Now, one New Jersey lawmaker is pushing a plan he believes will slow down or prevent toll hikes in the future.

Toms River tolls
Toms River tolls (NJ DOT)

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Sayreville) would direct the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and the South Jersey Transportation Authority to study ways to generate new revenue at their rest areas, so travelers would spend more money there.

"The goal here is to make sure those authorities are maximizing the return," Wisniewski said, "so that the toll payers and taxpayers have the lowest possible burden, so tolls don't go up."

Wisniewski weighed our rest areas against those in other states, and pointed out the differences.

"You see a variety of amenities and services that are offered that you often don't see in New Jersey rest areas," Wisniewski said. "We believe New Jersey's agencies ought to be taking the same pro-consumer, aggressive steps to make sure that they're maximizing the revenue, providing the greatest level of service to the users of those facilities."

Other states have more available food at rest stops, according to Wisniewski, because they open themselves up to more vendors.

"They provide cell phone charging stations where you put your phones in," Wisniewski said. "You lock it, you can go fill your car up, go get something to eat, come back later, do that -- that's a service."

The bill, co-sponsored by Assemblyman Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge), has been released by the Assembly Transportation Committee and now awaits consideration by the full Lower House.

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