New York and New Jersey drivers pay nearly one-third of all U.S. tolls, report says BY Brittany Robins NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Tuesday, October 6, 2015, 3:11 PM A A A Share this URL DANIEL HULSHIZER/AP New York and New Jersey drivers account for nearly one-third of all toll revenues amassed across the U.S., a new report says. Drivers in New York and New Jersey pay the heftiest price for their commutes — accounting for almost one-third of all tolls collected across the U.S., a new report says. The report, which was released by the International Bridges, Tunnels and Turnpike Association, indicated that drivers in the two states forked over an astounding $4 billion of the $13 billion in tolls accrued across the country. “The primary reason (for New York and New Jersey drivers paying the highest tolls) would be the concentration in the region of bridges and tunnels connecting the greater New York metro area,” said Neil Gray, director of government affairs at IBTTA. “The facilities have been in place for a long time, they were very expensive to build, they are expensive to maintain and they are tremendously expensive to replace.” Gray added that the greater New York metro area has a very high concentration of commuters, which is likely to account for the costliness. Of the 35 states and territories that have at least one tolled highway, bridge, or tunnel, according to the report, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority topped the list at a whopping $1.42 billion in toll revenue. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey closely trailed as the second priciest toll crossings, yielding a costly $1.33 billion at the two tunnels and four bridges that connect the two neighboring states. At number three, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority amassed $1.23 billion at its various New York City tunnels and bridges. “This region has the most densely populated area as well as the most transportation and transit options available,” Gray said. “This is a reflection of the region finding a way to provide and maintain significant vital transportation linkages well in advance of the rest of the country.” Carroll, Pat Experts say the population density and high number of bridges, tunnels and other crossings account for why New York and New Jersey drivers pay the most in tolls. Not only does the density of population and crossings account for the elevated tolls, but the actual prices of the New York and New Jersey crossings are steep. It costs a cool $16 just to access the Verrazanno Bridge, which links Brooklyn with Staten Island and is a major connector in the interstate highway system, according to the MTA. Similarly, commuters are expected to shell out a hefty $14 for all Port Authority junctions, according to the agency. What’s more, Port Authority tolls are expected to rise in December by $1 as part of the fifth toll hike since the plan was first approved in August 2011, according to the agency. But Gray maintains that tolls are a vital part of transportation and balancing budget. “Without the tolls these costs would have to be funded through the state or regional transportation budgets, most of which are pretty well constrained and already inadequate for maintaining the facilities they already have,” he said.