I recently drove across the Delaware Turnpike while traveling from Washington to New York. It had been a while so I didn’t remember that the toll had risen to $4 in 2008 – this for a road 11 miles long. It amounts to 36 cents for each of those 11 miles. This is ridiculous.
The other tolls I paid driving up Interstate 95 were $2.50 for the JFK Highway in Maryland and $9.05 for the full length of the New Jersey Turnpike. The Maryland highway is 50 miles, and I drove 122 miles in New Jersey, amounting to 5 cents and 7 cents per mile, respectively.
Other Northeast tolls are much like New Jersey and Maryland. Driving the full length of the Massachusetts turnpike covers 135 miles and costs $6.85, amounting to 5 cents per mile. The length of the New York Thruway is 376 miles, costing $17.50, also 5 cents per mile. The $28.45 toll for driving the entire 358 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike comes to 8 cents per mile.
So how can Delaware get away with tolls 5 to 7 times higher than other nearby states in the Northeast? It is said to be the highest toll per mile in the United States. It helps that the Delaware Turnpike feeds into the Delaware Memorial Bridge, one of the few ways of getting across the Delaware River. There are no good alternative routes if you are traveling up the east coast. Once on the New Jersey side of the river, by contrast, it is easy to take Interstate 295, a toll-free road which allows you to bypass at least half of the Turnpike.