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NJ Drivers Avoiding Turnpike, Garden State Parkway After 50 Percent Toll Increase

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Garden State Parkway (file)

Garden State Parkway (file)

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A 50 percent toll increase in New Jersey has drivers looking for a cheaper route.

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority says traffic on the state’s two major highways decreased in the first week of 2012 compared to a year ago.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ John Montone reports

Spokesman Tom Feeney says 70,000 fewer vehicles drove on the turnpike in the first five weekdays of the month. That’s nearly a 3 percent drop. More than 100,000 fewer vehicles traveled on the Garden State Parkway, a similar decrease.

“I can’t afford it,” said one truck driver. “Paid $3.60 and now I have to pay $5 and it’s ridiculous.”

“I was outraged from the 40 to 50 percent jump in the tolls,” said another driver.

Other drivers want to know where the money from the toll hikes is going.

“The road has been paid for, so I’m not sure what this revenue is for,” said a driver. “So I’m not sure what this revenue is for.”

The toll hikes are the second phase of a two-part increase approved in 2008 under then-Gov. Jon Corzine and are aimed at funding road and bridge projects.

Some of the money from the toll increase was originally set to go towards the trans-Hudson rail tunnel, but that project was killed by Gov. Chris Christie.

Feeney says that the Turnpike Authority actually projected a bigger drop in traffic when the toll raise went into effect.

For more information about tolls in New Jersey, click here.

Are you taking alternate routes to avoid tolls? Let us know below in our comments section…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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