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NY Lawmaker Argues Against Proposed Port Authority Hike On Bridges And Tunnels

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Holland Tunnel (credit: Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

Holland Tunnel (credit: Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Port Authority’s proposal for a massive $1 billion hike on tolls and train fares now has political opposition.

New York State Senator Charles Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick), called on the Port Authority Board of Commissioners, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Gov. Chris Christie to reject the plan.

1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan reports: Politicians Lash Out Against Toll Hikes

“The Port Authority’s proposal to dramatically raise tolls is both absurd and insulting to the overburdened residents and businesses who will be forced to pay substantially more to use the bridges and tunnels,” Fuschillo said in a statement released Saturday. “New Yorkers and New Jerseyans pay enough in taxes and fees. At a time when so many families and businesses are still struggling to make ends meet, we shouldn’t be forcing them pay higher fees to travel to work, visit a loved one, or conduct business.”

“Under the Port Authority’s proposal, drivers with E-Z Pass are facing a fifty percent increase in round-trip tolls to use the George Washington Bridge, the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, and the bridges connecting Staten Island and New Jersey. Roundtrip truck tolls per axle would increase by nearly 100 percent. In both cases, these tolls would increase again in 2014,” he added.

WCBS 880′s Paul Murnane Along Route 4

The Port Authority warned that without the hikes, completion of the World Trade Center and key upgrades at area bridges and airports might not happen.

The hikes include the following:

  • Tolls for cars using E-ZPass on the Port Authority’s crossings would increase from $6 to $10 roundtrip for off-peak travel and from $8 to $12 in peak hours. An additional $2 increase during peak and off-peak hours will be implemented in 2014.
  • A cash toll surcharge of $3 to increase the cash rate from $8 to $15 in 2011 for the 25 percent of toll-payers who still use the cash system. The surcharge is expected to increase the E-ZPass market share to approximately 85 percent, which will reduce travel delays during the peak of traffic congestion by 10-20 minutes.  The surcharge will increase by an additional $2 in 2014.
  • Truck tolls per axle using E-ZPass off-peak would increase from $7 to $13 roundtrip and peak from $8 to $14, with an additional $2 per-axle-increase in 2014 for both off-peak and peak hours.  A similar cash surcharge of $3 per axle will be applied to trucks in 2011 that continue to use the optional cash system with an additional $2 per axle in 2014.
  • There will be no toll increase on trucks who cross during the overnight discount period and we will expand this overnight period an extra two hours each weekday night from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m (previously 12 a.m. to 6 a.m.).  This will result in a 61% discount for a typical two-axle truck which will continue to pay $11 overnight as compared to the $28  toll in 2011 for the same truck using E-ZPass during the peak period.
  • Fully preserving the Staten Island Bridge Discount Plan for E-ZPass users, giving the frequent users a 50 percent toll discount on the peak E-ZPass toll.  In addition, qualified energy efficient vehicles with GreenPasses will see no toll increase during off-peak hours in 2011, and the car-poolers discount rate is preserved in 2011 with a 50 percent discount off the E-ZPass peak hour rate.  Both GreenPasses and carpoolers would see a $2 increase in 2014.

LINK: For Complete Details Of The Port Authority’s Proposals, Click Here

In arguing against the proposal, Fuschillo noted that “New York State once again led the country in the percentage of people leaving for other states; New York State’s business tax climate was ranked the worst in the nation; and New Jersey and New York have the two highest state-local tax burdens in the country.”

“These increases will raise costs on families, hinder economic development, and raise the costs of doing businesses in a region which is expensive enough,” he said in a statement released Saturday,” he added.

What is your opinion on the Port Authority’s proposal? Sound off in the comments section below.

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