WESTFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Last week, CBS2 demanded answers from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey about why it is canceling the carpooling discount.
On Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy said he is on the side of commuters.
Right now, if you load two or more people in your car, you pay half price — just $6.50, which can be split — at the George Washington Bridge or Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, but that’s about to end.
The Port Authority is canceling the environmentally friendly carpool discount.
Murphy partially controls the Port Authority, and he told CBS2’s Meg Baker he disagrees with the decision to drop the green initiative.
“Count me on the side of carpool, so the answer is that’s something we gotta look at. You’re right. If we can put more people into a car or better yet, even on a train or an environmentally friendly bus, we should be doing that stuff all day long,” he said.
The Port Authority responded, talking revenue, not driver efficiency. In a statement, they said: “The Port Authority has worked closely with Governor Murphy’s office on the capital plan to fund New Jersey’s infrastructure priorities. We will continue to work with him to address his concerns and promote the use of mass transit wherever feasible.”
So is this all about money? The Port Authority takes in less cash from carpoolers.
“What about the people that are taking advantage of it? They don’t have all these extra nickels to give,” said Robert Sinclair with AAA.
Port Authority Chief Rick Cotton argues with cashless tolling coming, you can’t count who’s in the car.
“There is currently no way to monitor whether in fact the car qualifies,” he said.
But if the Port Authority wanted to, it could keep one lane staffed for this purpose.
After the interview, CBS2 asked Murphy’s office if he plans to go to the Port Authority and request the carpool discount be kept. They did not directly answer that question.
Port Authority toll hikes are coming at the end of this year.