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The Walt Whitman Bridge spans the Delaware Riv...Image via Wikipedia

DRPA TO INVEST NEW TOLL REVENUES TO MAKE BRIDGES, PATCO SAFER FOR REGION'S TRAVELERS, CREATE UP TO 30,000 NEW JOBS

 

photo: Walt Whitman Bridge spans the Delaware River connecting New Jersey to Philadelphia and beyond.

 

The Delaware River Port Authority will use revenue from a toll increase that takes effect July 1 to repair and improve all four DRPA bridges and the PATCO Speed Line. The toll increase was approved by a previous Board in December of 2009 and will provide the needed revenue for $1 Billion dollars in planned capital improvements on critically needed repairs to roads, bridges and trains, making travel safer for the region's travelers while creating an estimated up to 30,000 private-sector jobs.  According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), it is estimated that 30,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs are supported with every $1 Billion in construction spending.  

DRPA officials said the initiative responds to the public's desire that toll revenues be invested primarily in projects that benefit the commuters and other travelers who pay the tolls. This is a departure from previous practices in which some toll-generated funds were used for regional economic development projects.

 

The new one-way tolls, effective July 1, will be $5 for cars on the Commodore Barry, Walt Whitman, Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross Bridges. Tolls for all other vehicles will also increase. The 50% Senior Citizen Discount will continue for those enrolled in the E-ZPass program. Seniors who still have discount tickets may use any combination of tickets and cash that totals the new $2.50 discounted car toll. The DRPA remains one of the few agencies in the country that offers a senior citizen discount on bridge tolls.

 

Also effective on July 1 will be a PATCO fare hike of 10%. The one way fare from the farthest distance in New Jersey to Philadelphia will go to $3.00, a 30 cent increase. The off peak 

fare for seniors (age 65+), Medicare card holders and the disabled who are eligible for and enrolled in the Reduced Fare Program will increase 8 cents to 70 cents. Information on the fare schedules can be found on PATCO’s website, www.ridepatco.org.

 

The new revenue from the toll and fare increase will go towards bridge and PATCO construction work. The contracts for this work have been or will be awarded to private-sector firms based on lowest competitive bids.

 

            The planned construction projects include:

 

Walt Whitman Bridge: 

Replacing the entire center deck of the bridge. The American Bridge Company of Corapolis, PA, won the competitive bid for this contract, valued at $128,085,778.

 

Ben Franklin Bridge:

Rehabilitation and structural repairs, including bearing replacement, as well as drainage and electrical improvements. Cornell & Company, Inc., of Woodbury, NJ, won the competitive bid for this contract, valued at $26,300,810.

 

Commodore Barry Bridge:

1. Comprehensive structural repairs, including bearing replacements, concrete repairs to piers and deck, application of deck corrosion inhibitor, drainage improvements and structural steel work. Iron Bridge Constructors, Inc. of North Brunswick, NJ, won the competitive bid for this contract valued at $20,441,243.

2. Security and lighting improvements, including the installation of a surveillance video camera system, a security lighting system and other security improvements. Carr & Duff Inc., of Huntington, PA, won the competitive bid for this contract, valued at $1,419,800.

3. Chester Ramp Widening

Work on the PennDOT Chester Ramp Widening at the Commodore Barry Bridge will continue, with a scheduled mid-summer completion date.

 

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