80 Cents Is Now The New Minimum on the NJ Garden State Parkway

by newjerseyshores | Jul 5, 2024

And no, the speed limit in New Jersey has not been increased to 80 M.P.H. Change is a constant on New Jersey’s roads. Everywhere you look, there’s always something new happening.

The New Jersey Turnpike is a prime example. When was the last time you drove on that toll road and didn’t encounter any construction?

It’s a never-ending cycle of new overpasses, updated rest areas, and lane changes. In reality, there probably won’t be a single year without some kind of construction on that tollway.

What funds all of this? Our beloved tolls, of course. These tolls are essential to keeping all those projects moving (or so they claim).

Without tolls, none of the work would be possible. That’s just how the New Jersey Turnpike operates. And similarly, that’s how the Garden State Parkway functions.

So Many Planned Projects

Not only are the roads fast in terms of speed (everyone knows most drivers hit at least 80 M.P.H. at any given moment), but they are also quick with the number of construction projects.

To be fair, the Garden State Parkway doesn’t seem to have as many projects happening at once as the Turnpike. But still, there’s always something.

Consider the Jon Bon Jovi rest area. It wasn’t too long ago that it was renamed from Cheesequake, and now it’s being renovated again.

So it’s not just the speed of the vehicles but also the pace of new projects being added. Even though the work might appear slow at times, there’s always a guarantee that we’ll quickly add more projects in the coming months.

Funding Is Always Needed For Planned Projects

Funding is needed for all those planned projects. It seems obvious, but who do you think foots the bill?

Well, partly you do. At least when it comes to the tolls you pay, not just on the Turnpike, but also on the Garden State Parkway.

Projects and general maintenance are covered by the toll money. Sadly, as we move toward the future, costs continue to rise.

Now 80 Cents Is The New Minimum Toll

Have you noticed the new minimum toll on the Garden State Parkway this year? No, it’s not the speed (though some might wish it were).

Remember the recent toll increases that took effect? Before that, the lowest toll for the on-ramps and off-ramps was 75 cents.

With the latest hike for 2024 now in place, the new minimum toll on the Parkway is 80 cents. And that’s why 80 is the new minimum on the Garden State Parkway.

In other words, except for a few free zones that still exist, expect to pay at least 80 cents to use the road.

garden state parkway scenery

How Long Until We See One Dollar Minimum Tolls?

The fare increase that raised the minimum toll from 75 cents to 80 cents happened instantly. So, how long until the smallest toll on the GSP reaches $1.00?

Probably, at the earliest, four years. That’s just my opinion, as we won’t know for sure until it happens.

Think about it this way. If a similar toll hike occurs every year for the next four years, and each time the minimum toll rises by a nickel, it will only take four more years for the smallest toll to reach a dollar. It might not seem like much, but it adds up over time.

We Don’t Know When Tolls Will Increase

Remember, we don’t know what kind of toll increases are coming. This means the 80-cent minimum toll might last longer than expected.

Tolls surpassing the $1.00 minimum will probably happen someday, but it might not be in four years. That’s assuming the same fare hike happens four years in a row, which it might not.

But one thing’s for sure: the promise of tolls disappearing will likely never come true. In fact, it’s unrealistic to think it ever would.

But New Projects Mean More Funding

Consider this: how can we ever pay off the parkway if there are always new projects needing funding?

If a day ever comes when no funding is needed, then maybe tolls will disappear. But realistically, that day will never arrive.

For now, our new minimum is 80 on the GSP. Enjoy it while it lasts before the next hike pushes us closer to a dollar minimum fare.