History mystery solved - "1952" Garden State Parkway toll token is 1980s vintage

Toll tokens minted for the New Jersey Highway Authority (NJHA) for use on its Garden State Parkway in the 1980s all had the year "1952" stamped on them, 1952 being the year the NJHA was established. With coins the convention is that they are stamped with the year of minting, but that convention wasn't applied to Garden State Parkway toll tokens. (see picture) We've been wrestling with this after we carried an advertisement for a 1952 token.

The mystery was solved by Denise deSante, now manager, constituent services at the New Jersey Turnpike Authority who worked at the New Jersey Highway Authority before its staff and the State Parkway were merged into the Turnpike Authority a few years back. ibrary of Parkway materials and annual reports going back to the beginning is described as the go-to person on historical issues.

deSante said simply that the '1952' refers not to the minting date but to the founding date of the Highway Authority.

We also contacted the former executive director of the NJ Highway Authority George Zillochi who told us that the first tokens were sold on the Garden State Parkway June 15, 1981.

However early on there wasn't much use made of them, he says, because the main toll rate at the barrier plazas was 25c and they were simply a substitute for using a quarter in the coin machines. Demand for the nickel plated tokens took off in early 1989 when plans were announced for an increase in the toll from 25c to 35c. Plans provided for the token to be valid despite the higher toll.

The authority was concerned that if most motorists went from throwing a quarter to throwing the quarter and a dime or a quarter and two nickels into the coin machine baskets throughput would drop seriously and queues would become unmanageable.

They needed to promote use of the token. As a promotion the token was to be sold for 25c for several months.

Source: tollroadsnews.com

Whizkeys from SmartRF Solutions LLC Garden State Parkway 2012
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Hmmm ... but the tolls are electronic now

I agree with your historical point that the California freeways originally stood in contrast to the east coast toll roads. I grew up tossing coins into the toll machines on the Garden State Parkway.
But now California is starting to turn some stretches of freeway into toll roads! Of course we don't have toll booths anymore ... you carry a FastTrak transponder in your car and sensors in the road know you're there and debit your account.

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Public hearing before Assembly Transportation and Communications Committee to consider the effect of the proposed Garden State Parkway toll increase on traffic, highway safety, and the environment in New Jersey : April 13, 1989, Room 403, State House Annex, Trenton, New Jersey
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Garden State Parkway (Exits 58 …
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Committee meeting before Senate Special New Jersey Highway Authority Investigation Committee : to continue questioning representatives of the New Jersey Highway Authority concerning the Authority's operations, management, and decision-making structures, as these relate to the Authority's recent decision to raise tolls on the Garden State Parkway : July 14, 1988, Room 424, State House Annex, Trenton, New Jersey
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    May 09, 2007 by need2know | Posted in Decorating & Remodeling

    I want to add metal garden art, but I want color in/on the metal piece , I want to design. Or will any exterior paint stay on through different seasons.Without peeling and chipping ?

    • Pretty much every paint will come off eventually, mainlybecause:
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      Remember to be creative- and never dismiss an idea untill you see it properly.... No artist is happy with thier work in progress!