Back in May, we found out that tolls would be going up on the Garden State Parkway, the New Jersey Turnpike, and the Atlantic City Expressway. Tolls jumped 36% on the Turnpike and 27% on the Parkway. Not to be outdone, the Atlantic City Expressway announced a 40% increase. With everything else going on in the world, it would be understandable if you forgot about that...but yesterday, the hammer came down, and we're all going to get whacked by it.

I know that some lucky ones have commutes that don't require getting on the Parkway or the Turnpike or the Expressway, but a majority of us do. Luckily for me, on a normal day I'm only going from Barnegat to Toms River and back - but check out this Toll Calculator from the NJ Turnpike Authority. If I get on the Parkway North from Barnegat to TR, I manage to miss any toll plazas. However, coming home, if I get on Parkway South from Lakehurst Road, and take it to Exit 67, it's now going to cost me $1.90 - but if I get off at Exit 69, it's 95 cents; if I get off at Exit 74, it will be 65 cents. I know compared to lots of people, less than two bucks a day for tolls is nothing. But come on, we all know that those things add up quickly.

According to reports, the higher tolls will fund a $24 billion construction plan for the state that includes the widening of the turnpike and parkway, the installation of permanent cashless tolls, and upgrading a bridge between New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

And guess what? Under the plan, tolls will increase each year by up to 3%, depending on inflation, starting Jan. 1, 2022, according to the Turnpike Authority. So yeah, we're still in the midst of a pandemic, people still aren't working (or working a lot less), but the cost of living just keeps going up.

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