No new tolls will be added at the Galloway exits off the Garden State Parkway — really, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority says.
Despite evidence to the contrary on the authority's website and in its planning documents that a toll was planned, NJTA spokesman Tom Feeney Thursday that’s not the case.
There are no plans to add tolls to either of the reconfigured exits at mileposts 41 and 44 planned in Galloway.
The incorrect information that appears in the authority's documents dates back to a project description that's at least nine years old, Feeney said.
"That is an outdated description on the website," Feeney said. "We couldn't just decide to throw a toll up there. There would have to be public notice, a public hearing near the project, and a period of public comment."
Rumors of new tolls grew on Wednesday at Gov. Chris Christie's town hall meeting when a local resident asked the governor about the decision to cut off access to Jimmie Leeds Road from the Atlantic City Service Area when exit 41 is built.
She also said she believed a new toll could be added.
Asked about the resident’s statement, everyone from the Turnpike Authority spokesman to state legislators and local officials said that wasn’t true.
But Thursday, Galloway resident Bob Babiasz pointed out that the authority's website states that that tolls are planned for the reconfigured exit 44 in Galloway. The $25 million project at Pomona Road will add a southbound entrance ramp and a northbound exit ramp.
A separate $25 million project planned three miles away will add a fully functioning interchange labeled exit 41. Currently motorists cut through the Atlantic City Service Area to access the parkway, but when the new interchange opens the access road to the service area will be closed.
Feeney said the information on the authority's website is so out of date that the project description refers back to the time when the parkway was operated by the now defunct New Jersey Highway Authority.
That agency was abolished in 2003 and its duties were consolidated with the Turnpike Authority - a cost-saving measure suggested by then-Gov. James McGreevey.
The Turnpike Authority has never considered a toll at Exit 44, said Feeney who then provided The Press of Atlantic City with a spreadsheet of the authority's capital projects through 2018.
However, that document also showed plans for a toll.
Another mistake, Feeney admitted.
Feeney said he was unable to explain the inaccuracies. As of 7 p.m. the authority’s website now had the correct information for visitors.
Atlantic County Freeholder Alex Marino and other Galloway officials met with the Turnpike Authority regarding the Parkway exits in April. At that time, tolls were not discussed.
Asked about the possibility of toll plazas, Marino said he spoke with county officials who confirmed with the Turnpike Authority that no tolls are planned. Documents submitted by the Turnpike Authority to the state Department of Transportation and the Pinelands Commission don't include plans for toll plazas, he said.
Still, Marino said he wants written confirmation that tolls are not planned.
"I want that in writing from the Turnpike Authority," he said.
In October 2011, the Turnpike Authority's chief financial officer reported that the authority's 2011 toll revenue would be $50 million to $55 million short of projects. Toll rates were increased in January 2012.