A friend of mine recently noted that the major roadways around here, the ones that are supposed to help you travel faster, seem to have become the slowest routes.

It’s a bit of an exaggeration — not unusual for this friend — but we’ve all experienced the construction and the accompanying lane changes, traffic jams and delays on the Garden State Parkway and the Atlantic City Expressway.

(The insult added to this injury is that many of the parkway delays involved “trimming” the bordering trees.)

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So when I heard that the E-ZPass toll on the expressway is on schedule to be finished by Memorial Day, I felt like someone had just given me an early birthday present.

People who know me will point out that I am a late convert to the cult of E-ZPass. I admit that originally, I didn’t like the idea of the state or its surrogate reaching into an account of my money and I didn’t trust them to bill me correctly.

And I was pretty vocal about it. In 2002, when I wrote a column lobbying Gov. Jim McGreevey to appoint me New Jersey poet laureate (just one of many disappointments), I included a sample two-line poem entitled “Thirty-five cents”:


my a**

But once you experience the satisfaction of gliding through a toll plaza where other unfortunate drivers are waiting, it’s hard to go back to the slow lane. And in these express lanes, you don’t even have to slow down. If it’s possible for there to be a satisfying way to pay a toll, this is it.

So I was wrong, I regret my Luddite stand, and I can’t wait to roll on past you at the Egg Harbor Toll Plaza.

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