Port Authority Tolls Increase, Commuters Suffer

Daily Commuter Pays More to Port Authority than Average New Jersey Income Tax for Those Earning Up To $100,000 Annually

SAYREVILLE, NJ — With the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s (PANYNJ) most recent toll hike, daily commuters using PANYNJ crossings continue to pay more in tolls than most New Jersey residents pay in income taxes to the state.

“The Port Authority is an agency that asks more of New Jersey’s commuters to run their agency than the State of New Jersey asks of most of its residents to fund all of state government,” stated Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski (D -Middlesex), Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the New Jersey Assembly Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee. “When a public agency imposes such a great financial burden on New Jersey commuters, it should be accountable and fully transparent in its operations. Unfortunately, the Port Authority’s commitment to both is woefully lacking.”

For a daily commuter using PANYNJ crossings 50 weeks a year and using EZ Pass at peak hours, annual commuting costs now amount to $2562.50. According to the most recent Statistics of Income report from the New Jersey Department of the Treasury, state residents reporting New Jersey Gross Income between $75,000 and $100,000 a year paid an average of $1750 in state income taxes. The report also states that over 80% of New Jersey Income Tax filers reported income below $100,000.

The PANYNJ approved a five-year plan for raising commuter tolls and PATH fares in August 2011, which also includes additional fare hikes in each December of the next three years. The Department of Treasury report, which was issued this past summer, calculates income and tax data based on income tax returns filled in 2011 for the tax year 2010. It is available on line at http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/pdf/pubs/soi_tables2010.pdf.