AAA Declares War On Port Authority Toll Hikes, Says They Are Illegal

Driver-Friendly Organization To Feds: Plan Is 'Unprecedented And Unlawful'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Finally, someone is trying to help toll-weary drivers!

The American Automobile Association is demanding that the federal government put the breaks on huge rate hikes to cross the Hudson River that go into effect Sunday, calling the increase illegal and absurd.

And if the feds won’t do it … they’ll sue, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane reports from Fort Lee

The Port Authority’s onerous toll hikes on the Hudson crossings are getting a big Bronx cheer from AAA, which is throwing up a road block to try and stop them from going into effect. Robert Sinclair of AAA said the increases are “unprecedented and unlawful.”

The driver-friendly organization is demanding, first, that the federal Transportation Department stop the hikes, based on a prior legal decision that toll revenue must be used for transportation-related initiatives.

“We think that increasing tolls to pay for cost overruns at the World Trade Center violates that legal decision and will impede interstate commerce and establish a new and ill-conceived policy of diverting toll revenues to local real estate development projects,” Sinclair said.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones reports from the Upper West Side

The rates go up Sunday on the Port Authority’s six Hudson River crossings. The price for E-ZPass users will jump $1.50 from $8 to $9.50 and to $12.50 by 2015. If you pay cash there is a $2 surcharge. PATH train rates will rise from $1.75 to $2 and eventually to $2.75.

To see all the new toll and PATH rates, click here.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports from Washington Heights

The Port Authority refused to comment on AAA’s action and Port Authority Chairman Chris Ward suddenly cancelled a public appearance where reporters could have questioned him. He was on the program of the Metropolitan Transportation Council to offer a tribute to three members who died on 9/11.

Maybe he didn’t want to answer some of the AAA’s charges.

“The process the Port Authority used to implement the toll hikes was rushed and lacked transparency with the Authority holding all the public hearings on one day, and the Authority’s board approving five toll hikes in one action,” Sinclair said.

Drivers are siding with AAA.

“With any agency there’s always waste and if they can’t get rid of the waste why would they raise the toll?” Woodbridge, N.J., resident Carlos Johnson said.

AAA said if the feds don’t act it intends to sue and if it can’t stop the first round of toll hikes from going into effect Sunday it will try to stop the four other rounds  that go into effect every year through 2015.

What do you think of the fare hikes? Sound off in our comments section below…

  • Jim Slade

    The increase in tolls are damaging to New York at large. The cost, alone, becomes a consideration when considering trips to different boroughs, Long Island, crossing into upstate New York, and new jersey.It would seem that the federal goevernment should step in and, in exchange for the federal funding that has already been provided, sue for a free access way to connect every brough, and every other entity of the state, along with in and out of the state. Anyone on Long Island, that includes Brooklyn and Queens, and anyone living on Staten Island and Manahattan, is held hostage. Triborough….free, Throgs neck….free….Verrazano…free, Goethels….free! Make it up in gained commerce!

  • hap

    that’s why im going to retire and get the heck out of this god for saken city of greed and corruption i am a civil service employee got my time in and im heading out of here, this city will suck you dry and take everything you work hard for away from you, ist not worth it take your hard earn money and move spend it somewhere where it still has value, dont get me wrong i born and raised here but the rich, politcians and the greedy pa, will stop at nothing until we are all homeless.

  • Loan Shark

    Remember that old saying “The House Always Wins”.
    You better pay up or else. Or else what?

    How about another increase in gasoline tax. That’s not including speculators
    bidding oil back up to $200/barrel. For you, maybe $6.00 – $10.00 a gallon.
    Still won’t pay? Ok, your choice on health care insurance: pay the increase or
    go without it, just don’t get sick. Still won’t pay? Now you don’t have job.
    What are ya going to do about it? Their coming to get you and ya better have the cash.

  • AA

    Well well well, the chairman of PA was nominated to the board of commissioners by Chris Christie. That should explain why the governor never opposed the fare hike. Is the governor going to start campaigning again anytime soon?

  • Doug

    Perhaps I missed it but no one seems to mention that in addtion to the toll increases, the Port Authority has quietly also increased the hours they consider to be “peak” by adding an additional 2 hours a day! Talk about quietly robbing the public.

  • Phil

    How much money is profit from Airports, NY & NJ Harbors,bridges & tunnels.Where all this money is going??
    This toll increase is not only illegal ,but if Feds investigate will find more.

  • chooch

    So if we are paying for the Trade center to be build when they start to collecting rent to i get a cut of their income I think i am now part owner

  • ?


    • Cab

      NOT!!!! You Pal made enough money AAA has a point there. Greed is the problem in this society.

  • Marine for Life

    I was raised in New York and Jersey and now living in California. One thing that is becoming more and more common Place between the three states…They are pricing themselves right out of popularity..When its not finding any way to tax or apply a fee its restricting businesses to to point where they uproot and leave to a friendlier state or even country…

    Way to go guys!!

  • Marine for Life

    To pay for WTC cost Overruns!?!?! To pay for the Construction workes who are standing around all day joking around or commenting on the women who pass by, Some of these workers were kids when 9/11 happened!
    Or is it to pay for all the money that has been spent to block off any public view of the memorial? We keep saying never forget yet the site is being prepped to become a source of money revenue and not a place of remembrance…

  • al

    Finally someone on the side of HARD WORKING PEOPLE!!!! SHAME it is not our ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES, WHO ONLY CARE ABOUT THEIR OWN POCKETS. ELECT AAA management for Governorship of our STATES!!!

    GO AAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Cab

    I am for the AAA to stop the toll hikes this weekend the Port Authority want to raise the bridges and tunnels and the PATH Train so that can send the money for the World Trade Center projects It’s does not have nothing to do with it.Or maybe giving it to the Management to give raises and bonuses to their pockets.

    • barneyrostaing

      On the plus side, it may cut congestion caused by one-person-cars. But most of them are driven by the well to do, so they’ll pay. maybe the Me Party can help with some idiotic speeches on the Constitution. Mainly we have to be sure mass transit does not improve and keeps rising in price.

      • George Lurye

        Do you drive through the tunnels/bridges or are you just yapping? 99% of cars are just your regular cars, not luxury vehicles. This is just regular people going from state to state, city to city. NJ is a NYC suburb. People are commuting, going to socialize, visiting family, etc. This will stop MANY people from coming to NYC on weekends to shop, visit museums, parks and other venues. That cuts off city revenue. Congestion won’t stop. There will still be 99% of the cars you see today since those people HAVE TO cross. They don’t particularly like paying $8 either. What else will happen? The bus/train fares will go up since the NJ Transit will have to pay more to cross. Also, NYC and Long Island food prices will rise since the cost of truck crossings will be passed down to the consumers.

  • Myrton Woolen

    i think all toll roads are illegal when tolls where made it was to pay the land owners for hwys now it is funded like a tax

  • fake-bookkeeping-fraud-overpay-mismanagement

    These organizations (USPS, Port AUthority, MTA) i dont know what kind of accounting system they are using. after every two years, they need more and more public money.

    • josh sucks

      They all have 2 sets of books.

  • Authority 2015

    You can see your “bright” future expected by these corrupt peoples.The state have to control our life through our money. More rules = more money, because everyone which try to avoid a rule have to pay the price for it. Now, it is the time to pay over the next few years the incompetence and poor management of this agency named Port AUTHORITY. Yes! We need more AUTHORITY!
    You can see all AUTHORITY increases until 2015 below:
    Wake up! mister Governor of NJ and NY and try to appoint six professional, competent and unpolitical members.

  • Alan

    Thank you AAA. It’s about time someone said ENOUGH and stood up to those BLOODSUCKING BAS***** at the Port Authority. The Fuc**** MTA and TBTA are no better.

    • josh sucks

      MTA and TBTA are one agency.


    Corrupt Democratic politicians and their stooges in New York and New Jersey, and you wonder why there’s so much greater mis-management going on there?

  • Richard Adrion

    Why is NJ paying for the WTC rebuild? They attacked the USA-it was a national disaster and not just a local one.The funds to rebuild should be coming from FEMA and not out of motorists pockets.

    • Vera Exler

      Would you mind clarifying – did NJ attack the USA or was it the WTC that attacked?

      • Richard Adrion

        :) Yes the cast of the Jersey Shore did it.I should have been more clear in my writing, I meant the individuals that planned the attack on 9-11.

  • Richard Adrion

    Why is NJ paying for the WTC rebuild. They attacked the US, not just NYC/NJ. That money should be coming out of FEMA and not NJ commuters pockets.It was a national disaster not just a local one.

    • George Lurye

      1. The State of NJ isn’t paying for any of the WTC.
      2. Who is, “they” and who is, “US?”
      3. FEMA has nothing to do with paying for rebuilding anything. Real Estate development is the job of the owner.
      4. No one’s talking about any disaster.

  • Michael

    Get out of your cars and on a train, or don’t come into the city. It’s really quite simple.

    • josh sucks

      Hey Michael,

      Some of us don’t want to come into “YOUR” city. We’re just passing through and want to get from NJ to Long Island or the other way around.

      If I had my way “YOUR” city would be walled off and we would charge idiots like you to get in or out!

      It’s really that simple!

    • George Lurye

      1. Train (PATH) fares are going up too.
      2. Trains are already overfilled, if you disagree, ride the PATH during a rush hour.
      3. If people from NJ and neighboring states stop coming to NYC, we’ll lose billions of dollars in sale tax revenue each year not to mention the impact that will have on the tourism industry (the largest employer in NYC.)

      That’s quite simple too.

    • NJ_Tattoor

      Now this, THIS is one of those snide remarks that make me wanna well, I don’t want to say – you get the idea. What about ppl that have no choice in the matter? I HATE this philosophy! Trust me I and many others wont come to the city, the already over-priced absurdly expensive NYC. Costs of using Mass Transit will increase when more passengers are required to use it. So then what MR. I know everything? So I guess when that happens everyone should then walk to work then?! How about the PA stop being such incompetent greedy assh*les and stop ripping everyone off with their corrupt tactics! You must be involved in this in some way, probably one of those screamers the PA placed in the meetings for scare tactics. Go AAA true Patriots you are! Oh and BTW don’t complain when products you’re buying are inflated because of the ridiculous costs of transportation

    • Carole Mayer

      Well, let’s see. We have family in PA. If we took the train, it would cost $200 to $300 roundtrip. Does that sound like a reasonable alternative to a tank of gas?
      There are a lot of people who do not have any way to use mass transit to get back and forth to work. Many of them are not making a lot of money. The toll increase can be a serious dent in their monthly income. And once again, it will be those who can least afford it, who are most affected.

  • Albatross

    Maybe if they lowered the tolls, more people would use the bridges and they would generate more revenue – everyone is happy. There should be competition, each bridge should be owned by a separate company so they could compete for customers… Monopoly is a root of all economic evils

    • George Lurye

      Infrastructure is best maintained by governments. That’s been proven. Though I see nothing wrong with selling ad space for bridges and tunnels. Why not ad banners at toll booths? Why not rename the Holland Tunnel into the ING tunnel or the GM tunnel? There are sources of revenue other than drivers, but as long as drivers have no alternative, what alternative do they have other than to pay?

      Pretty soon we’ll need to change the word “toll” into the word “fine.”

  • goblin

    I love how AAA is all up in arms over illegal toll hikes but supports state revenue generation from red light and speed cameras. AAA is worthless. Join the National Motorists Association instead.



  • jaggerbat singhe

    The governors of new york and new jersey should hold their heads in shamefor letting the MTA divert our toll dollars to mr silverstein to rebuild the towers for which he was paid 2 billion dollars in insurnace money.The tolls collected are more than adequate to repair all infracture and enough for expenditure for upkeep.the real truth is being hidden by the politicians and the greedy eleite that runs the city and state,the media is controlled my the rich ,ever notice during the news all the channels tell the same news,no independent reporting……..ny is heading for the dumps

    • kevin kramers

      MTA and PA are separate entities

  • J

    New York is basically and ORGY of mismanagement!

  • I HATE ezPass Toll Hikes $12, its a shame

    these mother **ucker governors could have block the this stupid raise, but they choose to go with port authority, i wonder how much kick back they will get once they are out of the office’s….

  • Jack Melford

    The truth is they are raising tool to pay for welfare mom

  • Val

    Why don`t they have lanes to collect tolls similar to the self-service aisles in supermarkets? You could use a credit or debit card; and many credit cards don`t even have to be swiped. This would eliminate the need for some toll collectors, which would save money. It seems EZ Pass has a monopoly on toll collection with a complicated and possibly out-dated technology. Why not look into the possibility of a self-serve system that could give everyone a fair and equal toll increase?

    • karlson

      EZ-PASS is outdated? You haven’t traveled very far by car, have you? You can go up and down the east coast and the same EZ-PASS device that you call complicated and outdated works in MA, NJ, DE and MD. I may have left out other places. Oh sure, it works in NY too.

      Also, why would you want to stop to swipe a credit card? The EZ-PASS allows you to continue rolling at many toll plazas that are safe to do so. This is a tremendous time saver. The EZ-PASS is connected to your credit card for billing purposes.

      You want to stop so you can swipe your credit card? The EZ-PASS already does that for you faster and more efficiently. And EZ-PASS has eliminated the need for most toll collectors and the bridge and tunnel authorities have saved money by not hiring new employees until the old ones retire. But they still waste and spend tons of money on themselves.

      • Nonya

        If the Port Authority saves sooo much money then why do they need to continue raising fares? The answer is all in one word. SCAM!

      • Mr. Chang

        TO: KARLSON:

        Are you still a salesman with EZ pants…err..PASS?

      • Tom

        Having equipment at the toll booths and in or on your car is costly. Why do EZ Pass customers get a discount? If saving time is your biggest concern, why do cash customers have to pay for your convenience?

    • Truth

      That would slow everyone down. What if the mag stripe can’t be read or there is a sale denied? Look at how many people still don’t know how to use the self-check out lane at the supermarket. I would like to know why we are paying for the World Trade Center? The Port Authority has messed up and are expecting the public to pay for it which I think is wrong.

    • frank rizzo

      the union wont stand for that kind of talk. you must be a skell val, non union scab worker as we call them.

    • simpleton

      In Europe you can pay tolls with a credit card.

  • josh sucks

    The AAA is a day late and a dollar short. They’re filing a lawsuit right before the toll increases take effect. Where were they when the toll increases were announced? They should have filed the lawsuit a long time ago. Btw, nothing will happen in court that is pro-motorist. PA NY/NY will prevail because they are a criminal organization, just like the banks and insurance companies. They are all winning.

  • Thomas

    I would like to know why cash customers are being “surcharged” an extra $2 plus a “roundup” of $.50 on top of the $1.50 increase. This is a $4 increase, not the $1.50 that has been widely reported. It seems EZ Pass customers are getting a bigger discount at the expense of cash customers. Isn`t this some kind of discrimination and possibly illegal? Will they have more toll collectors, or are we paying more to sit in the long lines? Many gas stations and some businesses give their cash customers a discount.

  • Manny Nadelman

    This is a case of monopoly pricing power. The PA may be justified in raising the tolls for maintenance of its bridges and tunnels and for subsidizing mass transit, which reduces congestion on those facilities. It is not justified in raising tolls for the costs of rebuilding the World Trade Center and other operations. It is particularly outrageous that users of mass transit will have to bear additional costs through the increased PATH fares and large increases in tolls for trans-Hudson buses.

  • Dale Auburn

    The AAA will not suffer financially from the toll increase and thus DOES NOT have standing to sue.

    • James Gebhard

      You don’t think that any AAA Employees cross these bridges? I’m sure it hurts there employees and there members so there going to take action on there behalf.

      • Michael H.

        how did you get “there” wrong 4 times in a row? dude….

      • Wally

        Michael H:

        “Their, their, don’t let it bother you…”

      • Dale Auburn

        I was referring to the A.A.A. itself, not its employees. But you already knew that, despite your faulty grammar.

  • Natacha

    I take the bridges all the time and I think it is ridiculous that it is beings not raised. Not to mention they also changed the Peak hours. The current peak hours are from 6-9am and again from 4-7pm, The new hours will be 6-10am and again from 4-8pm.

  • Off Duty

    It’s time to take out the trash at the nynjpa. The salaries they are lavishing themselves with will appall you. THIS is why it’s called the “Tea-Party”… was King George’s penny-per-pound tax placed on tea sold in the Colonies that brought on a Revolution. Where are the voices of our elected officials? Crickets……

  • AA

    If PA is not allowed to raise fares then how will the execs be able to retire early and play golf for the rest of their lives. Can’t we all make this BIG sacrifice for them? Whta do you think NJ Transit did a few years ago. Raised fares and reduced the quality of service and increased the quality of life of the employees. PA, NJT and the Governor are here to look after themselves. Why would they care about the people who use public transportation.

  • JR

    $750 less in my pocket to spend on other things, this is why the economy stinks and will continue to sink! More we make, more they take! Ca plunk.

  • randy g

    I’d love to see the tolls around NYC completely eliminated. They are nothing more than traffic choke points. The roads are terrible. I left NY 30 years ago, and while I miss and love the people, the govenrment has run amok.

  • manny maricone

    The Port Authority Should start laying off the bloated management and excess number of police officers that should reduce Money hole they created!!!

    • nycros

      Your right Manny, they should start at the top, and cut back those HUGE bonuses

  • Head of the MTA

    Your Gonna Pay an You wanna know why.. Its cause all you do is Sit Behind your Computers an COMPLAIN !!! But You Take NO Action.. The MTA , Port Authority, States of NY an NJ, even Congress knows..What are you Gonna Do About IT… NOTHING.. So SHUT UP an BEND OVER an TAKE IT like you Always Have an Always Will..



  • Clare Cross

    If it is all about jobs, how about putting people to work rebuilding and repairing our deteriorating bridges, tunnels and airports. Go ahead and create jobs by following your mission and rebuild/repair our poorly maintained, outdated and badly congested transportation infrastructure. How about that for a novel idea?

    • mary

      i take the tunnels and bridges every day and pray the entire time that i make the journey to work safe. the highways are a disgrace!!!!! where does all the money go not to re-building in some already fat cats pocket. now AGAIN you want us to give more money. enough get rid of the MTA and the rest of them. the only road they are building is to destruction

    • Sara

      True True. and what about the people who will lose their jobs because of the hardship being put on them by these increases? I have several, who cannot afford this additional amount, even on a yearly level. But, i guess as long as all the overpaid, over compensated “Union” men get to continue abusing the system, alls good. F’ing BS.

  • NYChris

    they blow it up, Larry SIlverstein gets 2 billion in insurance, and we pay to rebuild it… I say no one pays another toll from here on out… Who’s with me?

    • josh sucks

      Sure NYChris – you go through the tolls without paying and see where that gets you!

    • unemployed

      Chris bank On me.

      This is insane to pay such high toll. These politians are shameless.i don’t know when people will come on the streets. it is more like pushing tin.

  • Chest Rockwell

    NY is for suckers. Highest taxes and surcharges in the country and for what? Those who value a higher quality of life and more of their income in their pocket should leave. I did.

    • Derick Chan

      Smart choice. But im 13 years old. Who needs nukes and weapons when the us is going to destroy itself and the world?

    • Nick 1975

      Its a playground for uppity hipsters from the West Coast & the Midwest now — many who don’t own cars so they can pay $2,500 a month to live in Brooklyn and spend the rest of their (parents) money on designer clothing and $3,000 road bikes

    • Cab

      People are planning to leave day after day one time some one made a slogan about New York is the Empire State into the Expensive State in the U.S. People are know that they are a bunch of suckers by living in New York or the State are trying to get all the poor out of the City or the State of itself.

      • Beldar Conehead

        New York, once known as “The Empire State”, is now known as “The Vampire State”!

    • Gil

      Right-on, Bro. I left 15 years ago, and very happy. F*****NY and its lousy Politicians.

  • Joseph Micalizzi

    The PA should learn to spend within its means but basically they spend what they want and if needed get the rest in toll hikes. It is time that each piece of infrastructure pays for inself based on that toll. The PA, MTA, and any other aurthoritiy has to stop this spreading the toll money into other parts of its structure. Why should commuters have to pay for updating Laguardia Airport. Don’t they collect taxes and fees from travelers for that? The bus terminal? Isnt there leasing agreements with bus companies for the use of it? The WTC tower 1 and others buildings? Wasnt it a combination of federal and insurance money enough. DO NOT come to me with raising the tolls when you have all of that money coming in plus others I am sure that you have. It is not my fault you have cost overruns….When a contract to build something is agreed to the PA has to hold the companies feet to the fire on cost overruns. They underbid to get the contracts and make up the rest in the so called cost overruns!! Get to it all you Authorities out there you cant come to the commuters all the time for the monay to make up for your shear stupidity!!!

  • BIG ROB!

    I man at the MTA earned $157,000 in overtime last year. That was more than twice his salary! The doled out over $80 million in OT last year. Maybe if they actually did some work during regular hours the tolls wouldn’t be going up. Or maybe if the person is so incompetent that they cant get the job done in a timely fashion, hire some of us who want to work and pay us to get the job done!!!!

  • iggy

    if they can’t build the building at the world trade center, cap them at the floor they’re at now. isn’t the lesson of the times don’t spend money you don’t have and can’t afford?

    • Tom

      Didn`t Christie stop the ARC tunnel because it was going to be over budget? Why expect drivers to pay for buildings that are over budget?

  • mark

    I ride the PATH 3 times a week and can say with fear of contradiction that it sucks. The PA is another pitiful example of a corporation that doesn’t have to try harder. Don’t do a better, more efficient job, just raise fares and rates.

  • Fern

    The Port Authority is one of the most corrupt and greedy organizations in the U.S. The orgaqnization has never operated at a profit because of the executive ‘perks’ that all seem to help themselves to. And the governors of both states play into the hands of this demon as well. It can’t run and manage a simple thing like a bridge or tunnel, let alone, 3 of the nations busiest airports. LaGuardia is all but falling down, and projects at JFK and Newark take forever to complete. Byt the time the projects are done, they are obsolete, and more contruction gets started. Every other bridge and tunnel in big cities is reasonably price. What makes NYC’s so much better and different ?? From a volume standpoint the Oakland Bay Bridege carries more traffic each year than both tunnels combined, and is still only half the price. And was repaired quicker after the earthquake in the 90’s than any project ever gets started on any Ny bridge or tunnel.

  • james

    never believe the government what they promise you . When the verrizanno bridge was built they told the people as soon as the bridge is paid for in taxes the tools will be taken away.What a lough

  • Barry Witz

    The The Port Authority is nothing but a but a bunch of crooks,thieves and liars. The Port Authority should be disbanded and tunnels and bridges should be toll free.

  • Duke Ashwood

    Absolutely outrageous. Waste, fraud, corruption, overly generous union benefits, this is where te money really goes. Rather than fix those problems, the government (as usual) pays lip service to the plight of the tax payers while shaking them down. Everyone has to cut back, except for the the government bureaucracy. Where is all the money from the federal and local gasoline taxes? There has ALWAYS been plenty of money in the Federal Higway Trust Fund, but congress raids it for other irresponsible, mis-guided uses. Its a no wonder the GOP & Tea Party are making such political in-roads.

    • Robert Laiken

      The Port Authority should be abolished. It has a long history of incompetence. Its airports compare very poorly with Europe’s or Asia’s. Management has no accountability to the public. I feel it is just a parking spot for political cronies.

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