Should NJ Have a Toll Payer Advocate?

Feb 22, 2021

Credit Wikimedia Commons

A toll payer advocate -- a state authority to help drivers with toll disputes. New York State has had one for a year, since it went to cashless tolling. It has proven to be helpful.

Should New Jersey have one? Steve Carrellas, head of the New Jersey chapter of the National Motorists Association, said we need more information from the state’s toll authorities. “If they were more transparent about what they do, what kind of problems they solve, the kind of numbers, then we could evaluate if that function under its own name is adequate, or if we need to create something that’s more independent,” he said.

In New York, the advocate helps drivers who are at a stalemate with a toll agency’s customer service center. But Carrellas said it can do more than that. “In addition to helping with operational problems it should also have the attributes that the toll payer advocate (in New York) and the Board of Public Utilities (in New Jersey) have where they can actually advocate for the motorist when it comes to toll increases,” he said.

A toll payer advocate in New Jersey would have to be created by lawmakers in Trenton.

“They (the New Jersey toll authorities) just have always done what they wanted and aren’t very forthcoming in allowing the public to evaluate how they’re doing,” said Carrellas.