Port Authority: AAA Lawsuit Over Toll Hikes Has No Merit

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)AAA has filed a lawsuit against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey over the recent bridge and toll hikes.

The law requires interstate tolls to be set at just and reasonable levels. AAA says last week’s 50 percent toll hikes at Hudson River crossings violate federal law.

Crossings that now cost $12 are expected to climb even higher to $15 by 2015. To see all the new toll and PATH rates, click here.

Robert Sinclair of AAA said the increases are “unprecedented and unlawful.” He added that according to a prior legal ruling, toll revenue must be used for transportation initiatives.

In response to the lawsuit, the Port Authority said they’ve reviewed the complaint and found it without merit, but motorists who spoke with CBS 2 disagree.

Taxi drivers say they’re getting fewer customers going from New Jersey into Manhattan because fewer people want to pay the tolls. The drivers themselves are left with the cost.

Asked if he’s trying to avoid the tolls, one taxi driver told CBS 2’s Kristin Thorne he was exasperated.

“We have no choice we have to drive with the passengers we pick up. We have no choice,” one taxi driver told CBS 2.

As for the passengers? They’re not happy about the high tolls either.

“That’s what I have to do,” one man told us. “I live out here, so that’s what I have to do.”

“I usually carpool to work. We used to pay $1 a fare. Now it’s up to almost $4 a fare,” another driver said.

What do you think of the AAA’s lawsuit? Sound off in our comments section below…

  • edy

    The sad thing is that this fare hike is in your face, the fat cats are laughing all the way to the bank and there’s abosolutely nothing that you can do.

  • Mary Smith

    jandgdist.com!!!! Support breast cancer – hope for a cure in every bag of Pink Potato Chips – check it out!!!!

  • Bambinomontana

    I’m a AAA member and my dues have not gone up, it’s great to have security if I get stuck by the job since I work 30 miles from my home, they may even loose membership since the toll hike may cause some not to be able to afford it.

  • Ali


    • Morris Bergen

      The AAA has not suffered actual financial damage from the toll hikes, and is in fact massively profiting from the toll hikes (with increased due-paying membership), so there is no standing to sue.

  • mike Tong

    AAA is doing a good job for the lawsuit, it is for the people especially us the poor drivers, the PA is greedy and misuse the fund, let us give all the support to AAA.

  • Ken

    I am sure when the trade center is finished they will lower the toll back to where it was. ( NOT )

  • Bonnie Chalek

    The tolls should be for road repair and operating expenses and NOT building One World Trade Center. That money should have been raised via bonds.
    Judging from the condition of the roads- they aren’t using the money for road repair either.
    This hike is excessive and truly at the expense of the working class.
    There should be a protest day- just to show solidarity- where noone uses the crossings. – for what it is worth.

  • Ross R. Caliguri

    Why is it that CBS NBC ABC news divisions always interview the guy, always find and use the one interview out of thousands who is apathetic or just rambles on with some asinine comment “well what are we gonna do” “it is what it is” blah blah blah… I only wish I could be the guy they interview for a “comment”. 97% of the people want the tolls reduced not raised. It’s time to break-up ALL these corrupt political Authority’s. But just like in the economic holocaust the excuse is that “it was all legal”. Don’t worry folks these PIGS will get whats coming to them.

  • anti toll

    Everything is sooooooooo in your face these days! What has become of our society?? Unbelievable and to think we live in a society with laws to protect – Not! Welcome to the downgraded good ole USA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 2B

    So it cost more to drive the 1+ mile of tunnel than it does to drive the entire NJ Turnpike. Oppps better not give them any ideas.

    THis is just padding the pockets of more NJ officials. I just say the pay stub of a 21 yr old who waves the traffic flags on the Tpk, he earns $51 per hour or $61 if he is driving a roller.

  • crave

    Of course the Port Authority objects – they are living large on OUR money…

  • Don

    Every vehicle that uses PA charged routes should go on a road holiday and not use any toll bridge or tunnel for a week. Let’s see the politicians scramble over that!
    New York is a great place but I personally will not allow them to suck me dry!

  • LZ

    Go AAA! Enough already with paying so much toll money for crossing into NYC. I hope AAA wins the lawsuit and the toll money drops so low as to match the NJ turn pike rates.

  • J Katz

    Tolls should be used only for transportation initiatives. This is exactly the same shell game the US pays with social security revenues. Enough is enough!

    The AAA is spot on! Where are our politicians? Another reason for a big change in Nov 2012!

  • nat

    do not involve me with twin towers Bloomberg !! build ityourself!!!!!!!!
    stop robbing my kids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Steve Geiger

    It’s the Metropolitan TRANSIT Authority, not Metropolitan REAL ESTATE Authority. They shouldn’t be in real estate in the first place.

    • CB

      The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is responsible for the Hudson River crossings and the Freedom Tower Construction. The MTA is responsible for the Verrazanno, Triborough, Whitestone and Throg’s Neck Bridges and Brooklyn Battery Tunnel which are entirely in NYC.

  • pete

    Didn’t insurance money cover this?

  • Craig

    Get the S.O.B’s. It’s legal robbery what the MTA is being “allowed to do” …but just becuz it’s legal doesn’t make it right. Every business, and theater in Manhattan should be screaming bloody murder…see something say something. welll we have a lot to say. Let your voices be heard! And where’s Bloomberg in all this, that’s what I’d like to know.

    • Morris Bergen

      What does the M.T.A. have to do with a PORT AUTHORITY toll increase?? If you’re going to complain, at least be willing complain about the correct agency.

  • Frank

    The toll hike especially for cash payers is CRAZY! I have never received a 50%
    salary increase!!! How dare they use these monies for a private real estate project like the rebuilding of the World Trade Center projects. Now if they used the monies to rebuild the transportation hub at ground zero then that’s one thing but for office buildings. I take the Lincoln tunnel in daily (after usually 45 to 60 minutes in traffic) and the road appoaching the tunnel (495) is a mess and actually rattles when driving over the helix!

  • Mike

    I dont think theres any other product or service or company that raises its prices 50% in less than 3 years, considering inflation rises yearly around 1-4% at most.

    This is nothing less than criminal, since PA has complete monopoly on river crossings between NJ and NY, they can charge any price they want. What other business can hike up its prices 50% in 1 year and still expect to have the same number of customers?

    The PA are bona fide criminals.

  • tomcat

    Go AAA! Glad I’m a member!

    • James

      Agreed GO AAA glad I am a member !!

  • Dryben

    Why doesntt the MTA allow naming rights on the bridges and tunnels? I am sure a corporation would pay big bucks to have them name attached to them.

    • Morris Bergen

      The M.T.A. has nothing to do with a PORT AUTHORITY toll increase. If you’re going to complain, at least be willing complain about the correct agency.

  • El Jones

    I think whenever toll hikes are greater than inflation, ALL the top executives should be automatically FIRED. Such tool hikes are a sign that the management are not doing their jobs properly, thus they need to be replaced. Over 300,000 vehicles gross the GWB EVERY day meaning revenue previously of AT LEAST $1.8 Million PER DAY (at $6 each). Where does all this money go? Not to mention the Holland and Lincoln Tunnel.

    • Jessica

      EXTREMELY GOOD POINT. $1.8 x 365 days a year is $657 Million – just from the GWB.

      • john

        That doesn’t include trucks which were paying $8 per axle.

    • cb

      Don’t forgot the Outerbridge Crossing and The Goethals Bridge in Staten Island.

  • Cab

    This is a wake up call for Port Authority for raising the toll hikes AAA will go after Port Authority for unlawful action. And they should go after two governors and Mayor Bloomberg too.

  • Mike Unstincs

    completely in agreement with AAA… tolls are to be used for transportation initiatives and not for the PA’s budget shortfalls on the WTC site..

    • Postnobills

      Ganster Government or SHEEPHERDERS either title!

  • Barry Kravette

    between the PA and the triboro and whitestone and throggs neck bridges it cost me more to go 15 miles to Queens than to travel the ENTIRE NJ turnpike from start to finish.WHY are the motorists cash cows for these agencies.If the AAA does not win this suit,we are in line for a twenty dollar toll.Citizens must take action!!our politicians wont.

  • jamie

    good for the remaining drivers and good for the residents of manhattan….less car commutes into the city means less pollution from them and more room on the roads for the drivers that can afford it. sounds like a win win

    • CB

      Jamie here is a news flash. Not all the traffic that crosses the Hudson River terminates in Manhattan. There are people who live in Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx and Staten Island, Long Island, Westchester County and Connecticut who commute to NJ to work. Contrary to what you believe Manhattan is not the center of the Universe.

    • Ed

      My guess is that jaime lives in Manhattan and doesn’t own a car or step outside his/her borough. And doesn’t also realize that much of the goods he/she purchases in Manhattan is trucked in via the Hudson river crossings in trucks that pay that fare per axle. And who doesn’t realize that that increase will be directly passed onto him/her in the cost of said goods.


    The AAA is 100% correct and I’m proud to be a member. These executives are either ignorant to the current state of the economy are just don’t care. I can’t believe that Governors Cuomo and Christy didn’t veto this hike, which they had the right to do! Especially after Christy made such a big stink about the board of education wanting to raise the taxes, can you say hypocrite. THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IS TO REBEL, STOCK UP ON WEAPONS BECAUSE THE REVOLUTION IS COMING! WE NEED TO OCCUPY THE USA THE SAME WAY THE FOR-FATHER DID! HOW MANY INDIANS DID THEY KILLED TO AQUIRE THE POWER THAT THEY HAVE, WHEN YOU COME TO THINK OF IT, THEY KILLED A LOT MORE THAN JUST INDIANS!!!

  • Claudia

    I am so happy to know this lawsuit is in action. Granted this is a federal lawsuit and it will take time for anything to be resolved, but it’s something. The Port Authority has too much power and for them to be so cavalier about the lawsuit clearly shows they are not concerned about this lawsuit and feels they will win. There should be some kind of checks and balances on the Port Authority, unfortunately we can’t rely on our governors to protect us from these hikes.

  • Tanweer

    Money for re-construction of WTC should come out of insurance payments not from MTA funds.

  • Tanweer

    MTA is trying to rip off the drivers. MTA cannot rely on their resources. MAT is misappropriating funds. It is City/State or country’s responsibility to provide roads to the citizens. It is their responsibility to build the bridges, tunnels or roads to connect cities for transportation. Therefore, there should be no tolls at all for any bridge, tunnel or road. Tolls are scam.

    • CB

      Tanweer it is the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey not the MTA.

  • Commuter

    The PA is run by morons and being dried up by the unions.

    The fact that they have lane closures on Friday (One of the busiest travel days)for repair work shows how illogical their thinking is.

    Audit these thieves and then get a class action going. I am sure every commuter will sign a petition.

  • Don

    The PA should be put out of business they are crooks and money grabbers. Too much power. I’m glad I don’t live in that area.
    Where is the ACLU ???????????
    Where is the CSEA????????????
    Where is the NAACP???????????
    Where is the clergy??????????
    Where is the liberal establishment
    Where is the conservative establishment??????????
    Where are the Truckers uniions????????
    Where are the taxi drivers.
    Maybe the truckers and Taxis should refuse to cross bridges and tunnels that charge excessive tolls.
    Our gas tax is supposed to pay for roads. Why any tolls at all anywhere???????????

  • Mary Catherine Ham Sandwich

    Having happily left NY for greener pastures that support a higher quality of life with more of my earned income in MY pocket, all I can say is…SUCKERS! NY greatness had been deflated by egregious taxes and corrupt politics.

  • wonderboy

    The work at ground zero is for the most part a ceation of the Port Authority for private business to locate at that site and pay rent to the Authority. Why should the motorest supplement a companies relocation to that site? The result will be more overcrowding on the public transportation systems as people give up driving. While on the surface this seems good, the Authority never invests a dime in public transportation and throws that expense on to the states of NY and NJ. Meanwhile they are ever more into real estate at prime locations.

  • chris

    Hallelujah… Thank you AAA!!!!!

  • God Bless USA

    bunch of crooks this is the only true

  • Poor and Tired

    Let’s see who they would fare against an independent audit. I will back AAA and have become a member as of this morning.


    Kudos! Kudos! to the AAA. They’ve hibernated long enough and turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to the torment and abuse that motorists have been subjected to over the years. Any toll hike should be done legislatively so that we can hold our legislators responsible for the continuous abuse of the motoring public at large. Politicians just like to point fingers when other agencies are doing THEIR dirty work. I had cancelled my membership several years ago with the AAA after having been a member for several decades because, at the time, I felt they were too busy counting their membership dues and thus, completely insensitive, distracted and disregarding the real needs of the hapless and vulnerable motorist. Being that the AAA has awakened from the long slumber I will seriously reconsider re-activating my membership and encourage others to do likewise, as long as AAA maintains their pro-active interest in the needs of the motorist. AAA, keep up your pro-activeness, not only vis-a-vis tolls, but against all the federal and state regulations that would inevitably result in cars being the size of sardine cans propelled by roller skate wheels, and powered by pull-toy strings. This is my opinion, hopefully shared by other past and present members of the AAA.

  • Jimmy

    Of course it has merit you PA thugs. What – you need the money to install fancy lighting on the GW bridge and for political favors?

  • Eddie

    The problem isn’t just the toll hike, in the PA increasing the toll, every business that crosses their trucks on a daily basis over the GWB, will increase their prices to off set the increase, in-turn, the average consumer will see an increase in purchased products, so, a $4.00 USC increase will be much-much more to the average person.

    • Joan

      The trickery of the government is at it again. Charge folks for things they are not using. If I cross a bridge I plan to pay for it. Not pay for unrelated items. I have no problem paying for what I use but stop the add on’s.
      Where does the tax on alcohol and smoking go? I highly doublt they go to whom you think it should. It is a penalty that should not be put on a few for the benefit of folks at the Trade Center. I totally sympathize with the memorial, so that is not the issue. Just that funds should be specific.

    • annoyed

      You are so right Eddie- so the average person gets taken to the cleaners twice!!
      How about Oct 3rd for a boycott day? Anyway good with Facebook and spreading the word for “event”?

    • bill wright

      Happy Motorist

      the port authority provides great services for the bi-state area and deserve to raise the tolls to maintainn the sevice level people expect and deseeve.

  • Morris Bergen

    The suit has no merit because AAA itself, as a business entity, is NOT suffering financially due to the toll hike. In fact, AAA is benefitting from it by attracting new members.

    • Amused not misled

      The ACLU does that all the time. Come on! It’s also Injunctive relief.

      The word you’re looking for is “standing.”

    • Tesh

      They are making a point because its their customers that they are supporting and non-customers. They raise it to $12 today and tomorrow it will be $20. I want a pay increase like that.

    • CB

      Morris the suit does have merit because the AAA is acting on behalf of its membership.

      • Morris Bergen

        But the AAA itself – i.e. the organization – has not suffered. In fact, the AAA is benefiting from this due to increased membership dues.

        • CB

          Morris you are missing the point. The AAA is supporting its membership by suing to reverse the toll increase. The membership is suffering due to the toll increase which going to fund a profit making real estate project by the PA. When this project is completed and paid do you think the PA will roll back the increase? Motorists will never benefit from the project that they will pay for. Where is the evidence to support your claim that the AAA membership is increasing? Remember the AAA is a nationwide organization and this issue affects those of us who drive across PA owned bridges and tunnels.

          On another point why do you feel that it is wrong for the AAA to lobby on behave of its membership when just about every major industry in this country have organizations that lobby on their behave? Those organizations sue when they haven’t suffered either. Why is it that the ordinary citizen can’t be represented by a lobby as well?

          • Morris Bergen

            No, I am not missing the point. The point is that, in order to have standing to sue, the plaintiff must have suffered ACTUAL DAMAGE. The AAA has not suffered actual damage, and is in fact profiting from the toll hikes.

        • WB

          “Increased membership dues”??? Where’d you hear that??

  • VF

    Within a few months the Port Authority should have the money they need to finish the world trade center, then they need to roll back the toll prices.

    • joe


  • huggy

    Time to move out of NYC. This place is overpriced and the air is polluted. You cannot drive anywhere because the DOT has made the roads purposefully congested. We are all paying for the new World Trade Center through these taxes. That is worse than being forced to pay for the Yankees Stadium.

    • joe


  • joe

    what happened to the insurance money.? why do the people have to pay for the WTC that we had nothing to do with? Its just plain old greed.

  • Sir Joe

    P.A. cops are now getting $200K a year in salary, and what a $100K guaranteed a year pension when they retire, and that’s just the cops, who knows what the “executives” are doing. Where do you think all that money has to come from? Actually, I laugh at calling the PA executives “executives” as they have a known revenue produciing source; tolls from people driving their cars over bridges and tunnels, they don’t have to do nothing, just sit back and collect a fat paycheck and pension. No visionary intervention required. LOL.

    • PeteyP

      Yeah …. 200k salary ……you’re a clown. Why would you state such false information in the first line of your statement nonetheless.

  • Hudson River Crosser

    I’m seriously going to consider becoming an AAA member just because of this lawsuit. The toll hikes are outrageous and excessive. Good for AAA for filing their suit. I hope they win.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Giving Tuesday
Charles Osgood Event

Listen Live