Toll Collector Marks 50 Years at Holland Tunnel

Today Liz Branch was recognized formally by Chairman John Degnan and the entire Port Authority Board of Commissioners at the first meeting of the Board in its new home at 4 World Trade Center.
Liz Branch was recognized formally by Chairman John Degnan and the entire Port Authority Board of Commissioners at the first meeting of the Board in its new home at 4 World Trade Center.

Have you heard about Ms. Elizabeth “Liz” Branch, who made headlines across the region last month when she marked her 50-year anniversary as a toll collector at the Holland Tunnel?

She is the longest serving employee at the Holland Tunnel. You should also know that Liz’s astonishing record as a toll collector has catapulted her to rarified air as America’s longest-serving toll collector, who is still at work at one of the earliest examples of a ventilated tunnel in the country. The Holland Tunnel is on the List of National Historic Landmarks in New Jersey.

The situation is somewhat akin to Babushka dolls: an iconic employee nestled within a glass and steel box at an iconic tunnel.

Liz has been the professional face of the Port Authority to hundreds of thousands of customers passing through since 1965 – including former President Richard Nixon whose chauffeured limousine passed through her lane on a recurring basis.

Thanks to considerable in-house buzz around the Port Authority, President Obama learned all about Liz and his office sent her an autographed photo and congratulatory letter that she can now add to her treasure trove of other Obama memorabilia.

What the President likely doesn’t know is that Liz has a longstanding crush on him that dates back to when he was just a U.S. Senator. Her locker at the Holland Tunnel is a girlish and gleeful expression of presidential adoration.

Liz is unapologetic about it: “I love him. I love his wife, his children and his mother-in-law. Always have and always will. He’s my all.”

Liz, who is a Bergenfield, New Jersey resident, is still working the midnight shift with no plans to stop. Today she was recognized formally by Chairman John Degnan and the entire Port Authority Board of Commissioners at the first meeting of the Board in its new home at 4 World Trade Center.

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