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NJ Lawmaker Calls for Port Authority Probe

Friday, December 02, 2011

A New Jersey lawmaker is calling on Governor Chris Christie's office to investigate how the Port Authority handled recent bridge and tunnel tolls and PATH fare hikes.

The agency argued last summer that it needed the money to pay for redevelopment at the World Trade Center site — but state Assemblyman Gary Schaer said legal documents the agency filed last month made no mention of the site.

"That brings us to question what happened between August and now, as well as are commuters going to be asked to pay for the World Trade Center additionally," he said. "So there's tremendous confusion, and confusion is a nice word."

Schaer said he's hoping to hear back from the governor's office next week.

The story was first reported this week by The Star Ledger.

The legal filing came in response to a lawsuit by the Triple-A motorists group that argues the hikes are not "fair and reasonable," as federal law requires. Both sides are due back in court for that case next week.

In September, cash tolls jumped on the Port Authority's Hudson River crossings, including the George Washington Bridge and the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, jumped from $8 to $12.

Neither Christie nor New York Governor Cuomo would comment on the issue. The Port Authority said in a statement that the revenue from the toll and fare increases, while being spent on transportation projects, will free up other money for the World Trade Center.

Asm. Schaer Port Authority Letter to Gov. Christie

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