Port Authority to roll out two-stage toll hike
According to the New York Times City Room Blog, the Port Authority is planning a “monster” two-stage toll hike that will generate more than $1 billion. The first toll increase, scheduled to go into effect in September, will raise the E-ZPass toll on the city’s tunnels and bridges from $8 to $12, and a second increase of $2 will go into effect in 2014. (For drivers who pay in cash, the toll would go from $7 to $15.) A $1 fare increase is also being proposed for the PATH train, a small commuter subway that connects parts of Manhattan to New Jersey. The increase would result in 30-day unlimited passes going up in price by 65%.
As the New York Post explains, before the toll hikes can go into effect, they’ll need to be approved at the Port Authority’s next board meeting later this month, and then both New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will have an opportunity to block the proposals. The Port Authority is expected to lobby for their approvals by announcing that it will need to shut down 240 capital projects—accounting for 3,000 construction jobs—if the toll increases are rejected.
Gothamist reports that the fare hike plan is being supported by the group Transportation Alternatives, which issued a statement today explaining that
Infrastructure forms the bones of a healthy economy. This is a tough but necessary step to get New York City’s crumbling infrastructure back in good repair and invest in a vigorous economy. The Port Authority does not rely on state or local taxes from New York or New Jersey. So these fees—a significant source of the Authority’s revenue—are crucial to the upkeep of the rails, bridges and ports that New Yorkers rely on every day.
The Port Authority also made the news today over its demand for $150 million from the National Sept. 11the Memorial to help cover infrastructure costs at Ground Zero.