Assembly advances Rooney/Bramnick E-Z Pass bill warning commuters of rate inconsistencies

TRENTON, N.J. – The Assembly advanced a bill today sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney and Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick protecting New Jersey’s E-Z Pass customers from being overcharged when using bridges and tunnels into New York.

Drivers who purchased E-Z Pass tags from out of state agencies are being charged the cash rate instead of the discount rate at New York bridges and tunnels operated by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, according to a AAA study. Between 2012 and 2016, of the 92 million out-of-towners didn’t receive the discount rate, 70 million were New Jersey drivers.

“It shouldn’t matter where someone purchased their pass. All drivers should receive the same discount, but we know that isn’t happening,” said Rooney (R-Bergen). “Our commuters should be made aware of this discrepancy so they can buy their pass from the agency that’s going to give them the discount that best serves their needs.”

The bill (A1002) directs the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to update its website to warn New Jersey E-Z Pass customers that discounts at out-of-state toll facilities may not be applicable to New Jersey E-Z Pass customers, including the Throgs Neck, Verrazano-Narrows, Henry Hudson, Cross Bay, Robert F. Kennedy, Bronx-Whitestone and Marine Parkway bridges, and the Hugh L. Carrey and Queens Midtown tunnels.

For example, a New Jersey E-Z Pass driver crossing the Verrazano-Narrow Bridge may be paying the $17 cash rate while a New York driver is paying the discounted rate of $11.52, a savings of $5.48.

“Over time, the difference in how much more a New Jersey driver is paying can be substantial, especially for someone who is commuting into New York every day,” said Bramnick (R-Union). “Millions of New Jersey drivers are being unfairly penalized. We need to level the playing field.”

Every bridge and tunnel in New Jersey and New York posts a cash rate and an E-Z Pass discount for their bridges and tunnels, but nowhere is it advertised that discounts are given only to customers who purchased their pass from New York agencies at MTA managed crossings.