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DRBA Commission Adopts New Toll Schedule at Delaware Memorial Bridge
By JSalmon on 05/17/2011:  


DRBA Commission Adopts New Toll Schedule at Delaware Memorial Bridge
Tolls Increase for All Classifications Effective July 1, 2011
(New Castle, DE) Today, the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) Commissioners approved a new toll schedule for the Delaware Memorial Bridge, increasing the rate for all classifications effective July 1, 2011. The new toll rate schedule is expected to generate about $22 million in additional revenue that will fund the agency’s Capital Improvement Program. The board action, which is subject to the New Jersey and Delaware Governors’ ten day review and consent period, took place at the bi-state agency’s monthly meeting held in James Julian Boardroom at the DRBA Administrative Complex in New Castle, Delaware.
The new toll schedule sets the rate for passenger cars and small trucks at $4.00 while commercial vehicles will pay $1.00 more per axle.   The agency’s discount programs, commuter and frequent traveler, will be adjusted for the first time in more than 24 years.   Tolls for 88% of Delaware Memorial Bridge customers have not increased for 11 years or more. The last general toll increase took place on May 1, 2000. Approximately 34 million vehicles annually travel across the Twin Spans.
According to Bill Lowe, DRBA Chairman, the toll increase is essential to fund infrastructure improvements at the agency’s crossing facilities and to ensure that net revenues are available to meet current and future debt requirements. “The effects of age and heavy use mandate substantial capital improvements in order for the DRBA to continue to provide safe and efficient travel across the Delaware Memorial Bridge,” Lowe said. “We have a fiduciary responsibility to maintain and improve our transportation network and the new toll rate structure is essential to implement the required infrastructure improvements.”
Chief Financial Officer Victor A. Ferzetti noted that without increased revenue from toll increase, net revenues available for debt coverage are threatened, which will result in higher rates on the agency’s debt. “The Authority has strategically utilized its cash reserves to fund its capital needs and controlled expenses, thereby deferring a toll increase for the majority of its bridge users for 11 years,” Ferzetti said. “Because current revenue projections are insufficient to provide either the borrowing capacity or cash necessary to finance infrastructure investment projects at our crossing facilities, a toll increase is now required.”
In late March, Standard and Poor’s downgraded the Authority’s Revenue Bonds citing liquidity and concerns that capital projects cannot be completed without additional revenue. The DRBA relies solely on the collection of Bridge tolls, fares and fees at the Ferry operations and concessions. The agency receives no financial support from either Delaware or New Jersey. 
Last month, the DRBA held public hearings in Delaware and New Jersey to inform stakeholders concerning the capital needs at the Authority’s crossing facilities; provide options to raise the toll rates at the Delaware Memorial Bridge; and solicit public comment. “The public process provided a valuable forum for the exchange of information and ideas,” Lowe said. “The response and feedback from local citizens, bridge customers, and elected officials helped shape the decision-making process.”
Toll Rate Schedule
                                                                                                Current Toll                                 New Toll
Passenger Car, Small Truck                                                            $3.00                                        $4.00
Passenger Car w/ 1 Axle Trailer                                                       $4.50                                        $6.00
Passenger Car w/ 2 Axle Trailer                                                       $6.00                                        $8.00
Passenger Car w/ 3 Axle Trailer                                                       $7.50                                      $10.00
Passenger Car Discount Traffic
Commuters                                                                                    $0.75                                        $1.00
Frequent Travelers                                                                          $1.00                                        $1.25
Commercial Vehicles
2 Axle Vehicle                                                                                $8.00                                        $10.00
3 Axle Vehicle                                                                               $12.00                                        $15.00
4 Axle Vehicle                                                                               $16.00                                        $20.00
5 Axle Vehicle                                                                               $20.00                                        $25.00
6 Axle Vehicle                                                                               $24.00                                        $30.00
The following are some of the major capital projects planned at Delaware Memorial Bridge and Cape May – Lewes Ferry during the next several years:   Phase IV of the I-295 Highway Improvements ($29 million); Painting and Structural Improvements on DMB ($28 million); Electronic Toll Collection Upgrades ($10 million); DMB Cable and Suspender Rope Inspection Program ($9 million); DMB Traffic Management System Replacement ($4.3 million); Dock Work and Replacement of Passenger Loader Tubes at the Cape May – Lewes Ferry ($15 million); and Roadway Rehabilitation and Safety Improvements ($5.5 million).  
The DRBA, a bi-state governmental agency created by Compact in 1962, owns and operates the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the Cape May- Lewes Ferry, the Three Forts Ferry Crossing and the Salem Business Centre in Carney’s Point Twp., NJ. The DRBA also manages corporate and aviation properties through its economic development powers - two airports in New Jersey (Millville Airport and Cape May Airport) and three in Delaware (New Castle Airport, Civil Air Terminal and Delaware Airpark). All DRBA operating revenues are generated through the bridge, ferry and airport facilities.