Rooney bill that brings clarity to E-ZPass pricing discounts passes Assembly

Rooney bill that brings clarity to E-ZPass pricing discounts passes Assembly

TRENTON, N.J. – The state Assembly on Thursday passed a bill that would bring clarity to E-ZPass toll discounts.

The bill (S743/A189), sponsored by Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney, directs the state’s Turnpike Authority to notify existing and potential customers on its website that toll discounts advertised by operators outside its jurisdiction may not be available for New Jersey E-ZPass users. The existing website lists available plans and honored discounts offered by agencies that control some interstates and bridges that connect New Jersey to Delaware and New York.

“The assumption E-ZPass customers have is that as a customer, they are entitled to any advertised discounts. That makes sense, but is incorrect, as prices are set by each individual agency that uses E-ZPass, as are discount parameters. The disparities can be quite steep,” Rooney (R-Bergen) said. “Requiring transparency is pricing and discounts is good customer service.”

Each agency or authority that offers E-ZPass sets its own toll rates and discounts based on its own revenue needs. Those individual entities also decide who qualifies for discounted rates, based mainly on residency, or on pass holders versus those who don’t have E-ZPass.

“So in New Jersey, those with E-ZPass pay those discounted rates where the Turnpike Authority has jurisdiction, or where we have an agreement to charge residents and non-residents the same toll. However, even with E-ZPass, New Jersey drivers may end up paying out-of-state toll rates even where the service is accepted,” Rooney added. “Drivers should be able easily to find that information online before leaving for a trip.”

The E-ZPass Group started in 1990 as an alliance of seven toll agencies in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania to use the then-emerging electronic toll collection technology that uses electronic tags mounted on vehicle windshields to deduct money from a prepaid account. The first of its kind regional toll collecting system has today expanded into 19 states. According to the group, in 2021, there were 32 million accountholders and more than 3.6 billion transactions totaling more than $14 billion.

The bill now goes to the governor’s desk for signing.