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New Jersey Turnpike Authority Ends E-ZPass Break For Non-New Jersey Customers

WOODBRIDGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Drivers who have E-ZPass accounts in other states soon won't get off-peak discounts when they pass through New Jersey.

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 The New Jersey Turnpike Authority voted unanimously to end the discounts on Tuesday, spokesman Tom Feeney said. The change will go into effect on July 1 and will affect Class 1, or passenger, vehicles traveling on the New Jersey Turnpike.

"The New Jersey Turnpike Authority is looking for additional sources of revenue," Ronnie Hakim, the executive director of the agency, told 1010 WINS. "Our traffic projections are down, we suffer sort of the same plight of the economy that we see around the region."

The authority estimates that E-ZPass users who set up their accounts in other states will now pay about 34 percent more during off-peak travel through New Jersey. New Jersey E-ZPass customers won't be affected by the change.

Off-peak hours are defined as anytime Monday through Friday except for 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

The new rates would raise an estimated $16 million a year, Feeney said. Projections for July 1 through the end of the year were not available.

Anyone can set up an E-ZPass account in New Jersey whether they live in the state or not.

Hakim said the agency held three public hearings and sought written public comments on the measure. Four people attended the hearings and 28 people sent in written comments.

"I don't really think that this was an issue that engaged quite a number of people probably because the mitigation is simple: you simply need to transfer into the New Jersey EZ-Pass system," Hakim said.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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