Exclusive: Port Authority $1 Billion Toll Hike Was Ruse To Give Governors Cover

Sources: By Talking Big, PA Clears Way For Cuomo, Christie To Pass Lesser Hike

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The proposed steep toll hikes on the Hudson River crossings are already water under the bridge.

The governors of New York and New Jersey and Port Authority commissioners are working on plans to shrink the increase.

CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer has the exclusive on the “real” fees you can expect to pay.

Drivers going into the Holland Tunnel on Tuesday probably thought their trip into Manhattan was among the last before rates were scheduled to skyrocket. But guess what? They fooled you.

The steep hikes sought by the Port Authority for the Holland and Lincoln tunnels, the George Washington Bridge and other crossings, and the PATH train are not expected to be as high as you think.

Kramer has learned that the $4 increase in tolls during peak hours is now only expected to be $2. The $2 off-peak increase is now expected be only $1. And the PATH train rates are expected to go up 50 cents, not $1.

Sources told Kramer on Tuesday that the lower rates were always the goal. They only asked for the higher rate as part of a carefully orchestrated political ballet to give Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Gov. Chris Christie cover for approving any hike at all.

The push back from the original Port Authority plan released just last Friday is already in full gear.

Cuomo said it was a bad time to pick taxpayers’ pockets.

“I think that proposal is a non-starter for obvious reasons,” Cuomo said.

New Jersey Gov. Christie blamed past Port Authority leadership for over spending, and past political leaders for not being there to hold the Port Authority’s feet to the fire, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“They weren’t. Governor Corzine was not, Governor Paterson apparently was not, and Mayor Bloomberg to the extent that he had input as well, was not,” Christie said.

Mayor Bloomberg declined to fire back, but commuters are plenty outraged.

“Is a ruse … they make feel OK … taxes are going up, tolls are going up 5 to 20 percent then you say why and get all crazy? They say I’m sorry. It’s only going to be one. You feel all better about it and it passes,” Mahwah, N.J. resident Rod Aird said.

“I don’t think there should be any increase,” added John Merrick of Bayonne.

The new lower fares and toll hikes are expected to be introduced when the board meets on Aug. 19.

The one group that escaped toll hikes completely is truckers making night deliveries from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The Port Authority wants to encourage night deliveries to reduce congestion.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Marcia Kramer
  • p8nt

    The P.A. needs more money and needs to raise tolls to pay their useless union workers, who will eventually go on strike next year for a raise, and the P.A. will raise tolls even more then.

  • HooHah

    Christie would hold the PA’s feet to the fire except that he has a hard time getting to their headquarters due to the lousy NJ roads (no taxes means no repairs) rail delays (we could sure use another trans-Hudson tunnel to alleviate the congestion) and lack of a helicopter (after the incident with his son’s game).

  • Jimbo

    Not surprising. Gas companies due the same thing. They raise the price of gas 50 cents or more for a given period of time. Everyone complains, and they go down. In the end, the price is 25 cents higher than it was, but nobody complains because it went down from being 50% higher. These kinds of tactics have been used for decades to cover unpopular cost increases.

  • midi-man

    Stan R,

    Mayor Bloomberg Has no control Period. He is the most wasteful mayor. All he does is tax the middle class to no end.

  • J

    If we did what the Governors did, we would be under investigation for wasting resources, or they would investigate us on an even flimsier pretext.

  • ThatsLife

    No surprise to me. The rich get richer and protect each other and smell each others butts. The poor gets poorer and gets scammed by the butt smelling rich.

    • Quintus Murray

      find a way to not be poor problem solved idiots

  • this sucks

    they got excatly what they wanted and the governers look like heros! it’s all BS!!!! They both SUCK

  • CT

    Hah, I said the other day MTA & PA will eventually get what they want, in small increments. There is no escape from (little) fare hikes. Make the working class shoulder the burden. How predictable of them.

  • Tim

    This is the most ridiculous headline I have seen in recent memory. These buffoons should be fired!! How do we do that?? Fire them I mean. Don’t they work for us? The PA along with the MTA has got to be some of the most corrupt outfits in NY and NJ!!

  • John M

    The reason the port authority and MTA keep raising tolls/fares is because of the massive and increasing costs associated with their union workforce and overly generous overtime, health and retirement benefits. It’s only going to get worse until we dismantle the corrupt unions that are holding everyone for ransom to keep their cushy lifestyle.

    • joey from B'hurst

      John M., you could not be more wrong. The union workforce is not draining these Authorithys; it is the capital projects that are awarded to next of kin contractors, that consistently over run the allotted budget. For example, MTA [LIRR, NYCT, Bus,Metro-North] spends about $9 billion/year. Union employees’ yearly payroll is not even a quarter of that.

    • Howie Sprague

      Sorry Johnny. It’s not the middle class workers who are at fault, it’s the overpaid executives at these agencies who have no clue how to lead or supervise.

    • Jimbo

      Its part of the problem, but by no way is the main reason.

    • John MM

      Try MTA payments on all the interest resulting from diverting funds earmarked for the MTA to other New York State programs (there’s now talk of MTA “lockbox” legislation) and Pataki’s forcing them to borrow, borrow, borrow, so he could say that he held the line on taxes. As for the overtime, remember the snowstorm and remember that when they laid off all those workers, last summer, the remaining workforce had to work overtime to pick up the slack.

    • Tom Owens

      I can’t agree with John M more. It all comes down to the Unions!!!!!!!!!

  • Bill Laundry

    LETS TAKE ACTION BEFORE ITS TOO LATE GO TO “SAY NO TO PORT AUTHORITY TOLL HIKE” AND VOICE YOUR THOUGHTS FOLLOW LINK BELOW http://www.facebook.com/pa​ges/Say-NO-to-Port-Authori​ty-toll-hike/2544457779177​24.

  • karma5230

    Well duh. I had a feeling that was what was going on.

  • GM

    What the ” governors ” of NY and NJ should do is watch the WORLD news. They should take a very close look at what is happening in London.

  • Vienna Joe

    They can paint it however they wish, but the bottom line is that Cuomo & Christie have approved a large tax increase upon commuters. And it’s a tax that will really affect middle & lower class earners. Clearly neither Cuomo or Christie believe that the rich should have to pay taxes, just the folks who actually work for a living should. Vote both of these pieces of trash out & vote in people who will make the rich pay their fair share.

    • Paul Polar

      rich people work harder

  • Paul Polar

    its not a big deal they need to raise fares and they’re only 1or 2 bucks more (pocket change) come on stop complaining and pay more!

  • Donnatella Soleil

    What would happen if everyone just walked or biked into the city? They would surely feel a loss even if it were only for a weekend.

    • true NYC

      Sure, just show me how to deliver 5,000 ponds of meat in a bike.

  • Natia

    Any increase is unfair to Staten Islanders. We are held ransom by the Port Authority of NY & NJ and the TBTA. This little game they all play to get some kind of increase is disgustting;

  • Stan R

    chris “helicopter” christie should know that mayor bloomberg has no control over the pa. it is controlled by the states of ny & nj.

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