Long-awaited increases in the cost of traveling the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike went into effect at 12:01a today.

From the Asbury Park Press, regarding Parkway tolls:

At most booths the price will rise from their current 35-cents to 50-cents. At one-way booths – such as the Raritan Toll Plaza which now collects tolls only on the southbound side – the toll will rise from 70-cents to one dollar.

At the same time toll increases on the New Jersey Turnpike will increase the cost for the average 22-mile trip from $1.20 to $1.70 starting Monday.

The toll from Exit 11 in Woodbridge to Exit 1 at the Delaware Memorial Bridge will rise from $3.40 to $4.75.

Motorists with E-ZPass will receive a discount during off-peak hours with a rise from $3.40 to only $3.50. The off-peak rate applies to E-ZPass users who enter the turnpike outside the rush-hour periods between from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Traveling the average-trip distance of 22 miles on the Turnpikewill cost $1.70, up from $1.25, the Star-Ledger reports.

The Press story features a lookback by members of Sayreville’s Laskiewicz family, who in 1954 were the first to pay the toll to cross the Parkway’s bridge across the Raritan River, and puts today’s increase into historical perspective. Compared to the overall cost of living, apparently, the Parkway remains something of a bargain:

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, that 25-cent toll [Theodore] Laskiewicz paid in 1954 would have the purchasing power of $2.01 today.

In 1954 the average American made $3,960 annually. The average cost of a new car was $1,900. The average cost of a hotel room for two was $7, according to a travel guide published that year by the Shell Oil Company.

Since 1954 wages, the cost of a car and a hotel room for two increased more than tenfold, while parkway tolls have merely doubled.

The federal minimum wage was 75 cents per hour in 1954. The parkway toll consumed one-third of that hourly wage. The federal minimum wage today is $6.55. A toll Monday will consume only about one-13th of that hourly wage.

The full schedule of what the turnpike authority calls a “toll adjustment” is available here.

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