Calls to halt Port Authority toll hikes

New Jersey news from Eyewitness News

May 2, 2012 3:15:03 PM PDT
About eight months from now, the commuters at the George Washington Bridge and at other Port Authority Crossings will have dig a little deeper in their pockets for another toll hike, but New Jersey lawmakers are already pushing against it.

"Now is not the time for another punishing round of toll hikes for the people of New Jersey," Sen. Frank Lautenberg said.

The lawmakers want the Port Authority to address what they call critical deficiencies identified in an audit of the authority, which described it as a "...challenged and dysfunctional organization."

Federal and state lawmakers in New Jersey say the Port Authority first needs to get its own house in order.

"Until you take the word dysfunctional out of the description of that agency, don't charge our commuters," State Senator Loretta Weinberg said. "Don't charge them another increase come December."

That's when tolls will increase during peak periods to $13 for cash payments, $10.25 with EZPass. In 2015, peak hour commuters will be paying $15 cash, $12.50 with EZPass.

The Port Authority initially said the hike was needed to help pay for the redevelopment of the former World Trade Center site. In subsequent court filings, the agency said the additional money would be used for bridges, bus terminals and other transportation buildings.

"Before New Jersey commuters are forced to pay a penny more, the Port Authority must reform its financial and management practices," State Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Hunter said.

Daily commuters, who pay the ever increasing tolls, believe there needs to be more accounting for the additional money. Other commuters say they've not seen tolls this high in other cities.

Get Eyewitness News Delivered

Facebook | Twitter | Newsletters | Text Alerts