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Public Weighs in at Port Authority Hearings on Proposed Toll Hikes

Monday, August 15, 2011

WNYC

Opinions have been mixed during public hearings held by the Port Authority throughout the area on the proposed fare hikes that could cost drivers $15 round trip to cross bridges and tunnels and $1 more to ride the PATH. 

At a hearing at the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd Street Tuesday morning, about 100 drivers PATH Train riders and construction workers passionately panned and praised the possible increases.

"What I don't understand is how every morning as I drive down to pay my $8, my fillings are getting rattled out and the shocks to my car are getting beat to hell," said Jason Ertrell, a lawyer who drives from Clifton, New Jersey, over the George Washington Bridge to Midtown Manhattan daily.

But trade unionists, which stand to benefit if more money goes towards the agency's capital projects, approved of increasing revenues through hikes.

"The rebuilding of the World Trade Center is currently a priority and must remain so," said Ramon Woodcock, a laborer. "It is a matter of American pride."

Governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie both ripped into the proposed hikes, although it is unclear whether they knew about them before they were made public. Neither governor is ruling out the toll hikes altogether.

"Our members are contacting us and telling us it’s very unfair, it's outrageous, it's a burden that‘s going to be tough to bear during a difficult economy," said Rob Sinclair, spokesman for the Automobile Association of America.

But labor unions and business and trade organizations say the hikes are needed to keep the port and airports running, bridges and tunnels standing and progress moving on a rebuilt World Trade Center.

The Port Authority said the increases are necessary because it's been hit with a triple-whammy: a recession that has caused lower volumes of toll-paying traffic on its crossings, costing it $2.6 billion; post-9/11 security costs that have especially driven up the budget of the World Trade Center rebuilding; and "the need for the largest overhaul of facilities in the agency’s 90-year history."

(Go here for the authority's full justification of the hikes.)

On Tuesday, the authority will host hearings in New York and New Jersey. The authority's Board of Commissioners is set to vote on them Friday:

Newark Liberty International Airport
1 Conrad Road
Building 157, Bay 3
Newark, NJ 07114
973-961-6161
8 a.m.

Port Authority Technical Center
241 Erie Street, Room 212
Jersey City, NJ 07310
201-216-2700
8 a.m.

Port Ivory/Howland Hook
40 Western Ave.
Staten Island, NY 10303
718-330-2950
8 a.m.

Port Authority Bus Terminal
625 8th Avenue
Times Square Conference Room – 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10018
212-502-2240
8 a.m.

George Washington Bridge Administration Building
220 Bruce Reynolds Way
Conference Room
Fort Lee, NJ 07024
201-346-4005
6 p.m.

Holland Tunnel Administration Building,
13th Street & Provost Street
Conference Room
Jersey City, NJ 07310
201-360-5021
6 p.m.

George Washington Bridge Bus Station
4211 Broadway
Lower Level Conference Room
New York, NY 10033
201-346-4005
6 p.m.

John F. Kennedy International Airport
Port Authority Administration
Building 14, 2nd Floor Conference Room
Jamaica, NY 11430
718-244-3501
6 p.m.

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Comments [5]

Vic from .

This is an outrageous scam!
Who were (are) the people in charge of creating and managing the budget for this World Trade Center project?
Where did all the money go...?
Is there no accountability (?)
And now that it's too late to correct this project mess, why should these cost overruns become the responsibility of the metropolitan area commuters _ ?
This, I suppose, is the Port Authority's idea of a "sacred white elephant" fix...?
To me, it looks like a double rip-off, another inside job

And as for being, "a matter of American pride" ...(?) ~ Check out the documentary,
911 MYSTERIES - The Demolitions
> >__| |_...
Wake Up!

Aug. 16 2011 09:58 PM

Daily driver whose commute does not include any tolls.

I understand the need to maintain our roadways, especially considering we are such a automobile centered society. I also understand that after years of use and disrepair our bridges and tunnels need massive overhauls. What I do not understand is how institutions, like the Port Authority and MTA, expect citizens to keep pouring money into their organizations when there is such a lack of trust and transparency in the way these funds are handled.
Regular, everyday citizens keep on getting squeezed for every last dollar they earn, yet regular wages have not kept up with "inflation". Do these corporations/institutions/governments really expect us to sit back and keep taking their abuse? How much more can we take till our backs our broken and we take to the streets? If they keep pushing and pushing us into a corner, how long till we lash out in anger and perhaps even violence?
Who Watches the Watchmen? (r)

Aug. 16 2011 09:17 PM
Michael from Upper Eastside Manhattan from Upper Eastside manhattan

The Port Authority selected some awful out of the way sites and a bad time of day for hearings that is difficult for working men and woman to attend even for busy commuters passing through a few of the sites trying to get back and forth from home to work. Then, there are all the residents in Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, Queens even Manhattan that must travel a distance to get to all of these sites and spend a considerable amount of time trying to get there at 8:00 a.m., or in the height of rush hour at 6:00 p.m. It seems the Port Authority did this to avoid hearing hundreds and maybe thousands of New Yorkers and folks from attending their hearings. I have a sense their conference rooms would be SRO with long, long, did I say long lines of folks trying to speak against the hikes if the sites were held in residential neighborhoods after work hours.

Aug. 16 2011 03:11 PM
nancy

Why don't they start charging tolls on the Queensboro, Manhattan, and Brooklyn bridges?

Aug. 16 2011 02:44 PM
Neil from jersey city nj

Just called Port Authority and asked for the hours of toll-hike hearings. I called Jersey CIty number above and the person who answered said they didn't know. Nor did she have a suggestion on who did. How can this be??
(Conversation went like: "This is Joe Blow's office." "OK, but is this the Post Authority?" "Well, yeah...")

Aug. 16 2011 10:25 AM

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