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Toll Hikes Passed Onto NJ Consumers [AUDIO]

All New Jersey drivers are paying more to travel on the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike these days, even bridge tolls are up on the Hudson River crossings.

Flickr User TristanReville

New Jersey trucking executives are warning transportation officials that skyrocketing tolls are forcing them to pass higher costs onto consumers.

Testifying at a U.S. Senate hearing chaired by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Steve Grabell, with a Cherry Hill based carrier said rapidly increasing toll rates are a threat to consumers and the trucking industry.

“”I am deeply concerned about the significant increases in toll costs that have been imposed on NFI and other trucking companies over the past few years,” Grabell, testifying on behalf of American Trucking Associations, said during a hearing of the Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security.

Grabell told the Committee that in 2011 alone the Cherry Hill, N.J., carrier paid $14 million in tolls.

“These added costs have forced us to re-route our trucks to less efficient secondary roads, which raises our costs and increases congestion and safety concerns,” he said. “In addition to the impact increased tolls have on logistics providers, the added costs associated with toll increases filter down to the consumer and affect business decisions regarding hiring and facility location and expansion.”

Gayle Toth at the New Jersey Motor Truck Association says while they understand the need to pay for infrastructure improvements, recent audits of the NJ/NY Port Authority and Delaware River Port Authority show gross mismanagement of toll dollars.

“They’re spending it on everything but the bridges and tunnels that they’re supposed to.”

With 85% of all freight in the state moving by truck, Toth said most products that we use will cost more.

“When you to your grocery store and it costs a little bit more for bread, butter, milk and diapers its because of the increase in transportation charges.”

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