Here's Another Reason to Hate the New Jersey Turnpike
Once again, New Jersey has been named the Most Hated in the Nation, this time by survey by YouGov.com. In fact, it's the only state that's disliked more than it's liked. Survey participants bestowed an overall favorable opinion upon every other state except the Garden State—only New Jersey had more haters than likers, with a net -10% rating.
"People in New Jersey are unusually likely to take a hardnosed attitude towards life," the researchers wrote in a section attempting to explain what makes New Jerseyans so unloved. "They're also unusually likely—compared to Americans in the rest of the country—to say that they enjoying going out drinking in bars."
The outsider dislike of New Jersey may be shaped by the way people are exposed to the state, such as via "The Jersey Shore," "Real Housewives," or those sweet guys from "The Sopranos."
It's also no coincidence that the photo chosen by YouGov to accompany the study's results showed cars on a traffic-clogged road, with two signs indicating a choice of the Garden State Parkway and, most notorious of all, the New Jersey Turnpike. Besides traffic and the "hardnosed attitude" of drivers, the Turnpike is notorious for greedily gobbling up billions of your toll dollars.
According to the 2015 report from the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, toll agencies in the United States collected $13 billion in toll revenues in 2013, the year covered in the new study. Of that sum, roughly $4 billion—nearly one-third of the total for the entire country—comes from tolls paid by drivers in the New York tri-state area.
The MTA's bridges and tunnels, which include the Throgs Neck, Bronx-Whitestone, and Verrazano-Narrows bridges and the Queens Midtown Tunnel, took in the third-most toll revenues of all agencies in the nation, with $1.227 billion. In second place, the Port Authority, which oversees the George Washington Bridge and both the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, received $1.33 billion in tolls.
And in first place, bringing home a whopping $1.413 billion in gross revenues to the Garden State, is the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
[UPDATE: A previous version of this story stated that the New Jersey Turnpike charged rates that were "vastly more expensive" than most toll roads in the country. In fact, the per-mile rates charged by the Turnpike ranked 15th most expensive in a recent study of 37 toll roads.]
States have been adding more tolls for years, as a way to boost revenues without raising taxes, so expect more of the same. As NJ.com pointed out, New Jersey Turnpike officials expect to take in $1.48 billion in tolls in 2015. And the money paid for drivers heading from New Jersey into Manhattan may come close to beating even that: The four bridges and tunnels operated by the Port Authority are on pace to collect $1.51 billion in tolls this year.