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Sen. Lautenberg Calls For Port Authority To Hold Off On Next Toll Hike

The George Washington Bridge enveloped by fog - Fort Lee, NJ - Mar 17, 2012 (credit: Evan Bindelglass / Special to CBSNewYork)

The George Washington Bridge enveloped by fog – Fort Lee, NJ – Mar 17, 2012 (credit: Evan Bindelglass / Special to CBSNewYork)

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FORT LEE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - Last year, the Port Authority instituted the first round of a two-part toll and fare hike. Now, Sen. Frank Lautenberg wants to stop round two from going into effect.

WCBS 880′s Levon Putney On The Story


In September, the toll for the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel, Bayonne Bridge, Goethals Bridge, and Outerbridge Crossing went up to $12.00 for cash at all hours and $9.50 for E-ZPass during peak hours. PATH fares also went up.

In December, the toll is due to go up to $13.00 for cash and $10.25 for E-ZPass.

“Now is not the time,” Lautenberg (D-New Jersey) told reporters gathered near the GWB in Fort Lee on Wednesday, noting that the first round of the toll hike brought in more revenue than expected. “When do we say enough can be too much?”

Lautenberg called on the Port Authority to suspend the second upcoming toll hike until an audit is done and reforms are in place.

“We’re more than the customers. We’re the owners, indirectly, of the facility. Let us know what’s happening,” said Lautenberg.

“We need real accountability and transparency,” added St. Sen. Bob Gordon (D-Bergen County).

Gordon said the goal is not to stall capital improvements, just to be assured money will be spent properly.

Some have criticized the Port Authority for using money from toll and fare hikes to fund construction of the new World Trade Center. The AAA sued over it.

“Hold off that increase until the word ‘dysfunction’ is taken away as a description of the New York – New Jersey Port Authority,” said St. Sen Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen County).

She was citing the finding of one recent audit. That audit said the agency was so mismanaged that it needed a top to bottom overhaul.

The Port Authority, for its part, has pledged to make reforms.

Rep. Steve Rothman (D-New Jersey) also joined Lautenberg, Gordon, and Weinberg in Fort Lee on Wednesday.

Do you think the Port Authority should hold off on enacting the next toll hike? Did last year’s toll hike lead you to adjust your commute? Sound off in the comments section below.