NJ Turnpike Employees No Longer Drive Toll Free

Employees of the New Jersey Turnpike Authority will begin to pay for their commute to work after the Authority Board voted unanimously to elimate their toll-free travel.

The elimination of toll-free E-ZPass accounts for all employees goes into effect on January 1, 2011.

The Board also voted to eliminate longevity payments, separation bonuses and cash-outs for unused sick and vacation time for non-union employees. These cuts go into effect on November 15.

When union contracts expire in 2011, the Transportation Authority intends to apply the same cuts when negotiating new contracts.

The Associated Press reports, these cuts come one week after the State Comptroller found that the authority paid its employees $30 million in "unjustified" bonuses while tolls increased.

New Jersey Turnpike Authority spokesman Thomas Feeney said Tuesday's cuts were important to improve spending. "We're interested in operating efficiently and spending every dollar wisely," Feeney said.

The elimination of toll-free passage was called for by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in a September letter to the Transportation Authority.