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N.J. Politicians Just As Angry Over Port Authority Prices Hikes

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Union members pack a hearing on Port Authority toll hikes - Jersey City, NJ - Aug 16, 2011 (credit: Peter Haskell / WCBS 880)

Union members pack a hearing on Port Authority toll hikes – Jersey City, NJ – Aug 16, 2011 (credit: Peter Haskell / WCBS 880)

FORT LEE, N.J. (WCBS 880) – Following Sunday morning’s toll and fare hike for bridges and tunnels crossing the Hudson River, politicians on the New Jersey side are furious.

“Hearings were held all in one day in August in places like airplane hangers and bus garages to discourage public input,” State Sen. Loretta Weinberg said on Sunday afternoon at the Fort Lee food of the George Washington Bridge.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reports

Weinberg, State Sen. Bob Gordon, and Palisades Park Mayor James Rotunda all sounded off against the Port Authority’s hike, which raised some prices by over 50 percent.

As of 3 a.m., the cost for crossing bridges and tunnels jumped $4 to a new total of $12. For E-ZPass users, tolls spiked $1.50 to $9.50 and will eventually be $12.50.

Rotunda said the increasing prices don’t only affect commuters, but also jobs.

“Every company that has to pay the additional fees on top of the fuel, on top of the insurances, on top of these new toll hikes, will have to raise their prices and they cannot afford to hire more employees to work,” Rotunda said.

Representatives from the Port Authority said they needed the increase to offset low revenue due to the down economy. Officials also said they needed more money to help pay for World Trade Center construction.

Weinberg called the toll increase an unfair tax on New Jersey commuters, but now admittedly it’s after the fact.

“I say let’s get on with the audit and let’s find out whether there is a lot of ways in that multi-billion dollar agency and then maybe we can roll some tolls backwards,” she said.

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