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No Toll Increases on Delaware River Port Authority Bridges in 2023
Commissioners vote to freeze tolls for the 12th straight year; approve $307.5M operating budget
Motorists who cross Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) bridges between Pennsylvania and South Jersey will not have to pay more next year.
The DRPA Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution today postponing a scheduled toll increase on the Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Commodore Barry, and Betsy Ross Bridges until at least 2024. The action marks the 12th year interstate travel across DRPA bridges will remain at $5 roundtrip for passenger vehicles.
The current toll schedule, implemented in July 2011, included automatic biennial increases in tolls based upon increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the Philadelphia region. Today’s action marks the seventh time the Board postponed these planned toll increases.
“The Board and DRPA leadership team have an obligation to the public to do everything it can to control costs and expenses before it takes steps to raise bridge tolls,” said DRPA Chairwoman Cherelle L. Parker. “Hard work across all facets of the organization to ensure it runs efficiently and effectively enables this toll freeze. We hope this move brings needed relief to working families who may be experiencing financial challenges.”
Throughout the pandemic and presently, DRPA has responded to the decrease in traffic and revenue by instituting various cost-control measures, including a hiring freeze, by focusing resources on the highest priority projects and activities to maintain the safety and security of our assets, and by reducing expenses and conserving cash resources. In 2023, the DRPA expects to collect approximately $344.0 million in revenue generated primarily from bridge tolls.
“We have strategically utilized pandemic relief dollars and programs, and over the last few years, we have been able to pay down our debt, refund debt, and cut debt service costs,” said DRPA Vice Chairman Jeffrey L. Nash.
In addition to voting on holding tolls at current levels, the Board approved a 2023 operating budget of $307.5 million, a slight increase of 0.25% from 2022.
During 2023, DRPA will continue with an ambitious five-year $738.9M Capital Program. Significant projects include the $216.9M Ben Franklin Bridge Suspension Span Rehabilitation, the $77.0M Betsy Ross Bridge Painting and Steel Repairs, and the $29.3M PATCO Franklin Square Station Reopening.
“A quarter of a percent increase in our operating budget is remarkable considering the present economic conditions,” added Nash. “The fact that we can properly fund our budgets, invest and improve our infrastructure, and do so without a toll hike speaks volumes of the Port Authority.”
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