Fees at Park and Ride may increase for nonresidents

By ANDREW MARTINS
Staff Writer

JACKSON — Commuters who regularly use the Jackson Park and Ride, but who do not live in Jackson, may face the prospect of paying more to park at that facility in the future.

The park-and-ride lot is at Industrial Way/Cedar Swamp Road.

Members of the Township Council discussed on Jan. 28 the idea of raising the annual parking fee for nonresidents from $40 to $200. The parking fee was established in a 2007 ordinance.

Jackson residents do not pay anything to use the park-and-ride lot, where bus service to New York City is available.

According to Council Vice President Barry Calogero, the suggestion stems from a need to bring the cost of a parking permit for nonresident commuters to a level that is more consistent with neighboring municipalities.

Calogero said raising the fee would help “defer costs for residents for snow removal and other services we provide.”

“I don’t think residents should suffer the consequence for a low fee for nonresidents and bear the costs ultimately through taxes,” he said.

In Howell, residents pay $200 for an annual park-and-ride parking permit and nonresidents pay $225. In Toms River, residents and nonresidents pay $360 for an annual park-and-ride parking permit, according to information from those municipalities.

Township Attorney Jean Cipriani said the issue warrants further discussion before the council can move forward with the suggestion to raise the permit fee for nonresidents.

“The disparity that is created by having no fee for residents and a $200 fee for nonresidents does vary slightly from neighboring towns that have a fee for residents and a slightly higher fee for nonresidents,” Cipriani said.

While a price difference for residents and nonresidents for certain services in a municipality is nothing new, Cipriani said the difference has to be set with “a rational basis.”

Although the annual fee may increase, officials did not discuss a potential increase to the park-and-ride’s other fees, which include a $10 single-day permit, a $3 permitreplacement fee and a $2 temporary-permit fee.

Contact Andrew Martins at amartins@gmnews.com