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Toll Hikes

The Brian Lehrer Show

MTA Fare Changes

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Jim O'Grady, transportation reporter for WNYC and Transportation Nation, talks about the transit fare and toll increases approved by the MTA board on Wednesday.

Summary of Changes Starting March 1:

  • The base fare for buses and subways will rise to $2.50
  • New Yorkers will pay $30 for a weekly Metrocard
  • Monthly card is now $112, up from $104
  • Riders of commuter rail lines Metro North and LIRR will see an 8-9% increase in ticket prices 
  • Tolls on the authority’s bridges and tunnels will go up by about the same amount. Details:
  • Cash tolls on the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, Throgs Neck Bridge, Hugh L. Carey Tunnel, Bronx-Whitestone Bridge and Robert F. Kennedy Bridge will rise by a dollar to $7.50. E-ZPass users will pay $5.33, up from $4.80
  • Toll for the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge will be reduced for Staten Island residents. Those with a valid resident E-ZPass who plan who make one or two westbound trips per month per account, will be charged $6.36 per trip. Those who make three or more trips per month will be charged $6.00 a trip. For non-residents, tolls will be $10.66 for E-ZPass users, and $15 for cash users.
  • Express bus fares will rise by 50 cents, to $6

Comments [17]

The Brian Lehrer Show

New MTA Fare Hike

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pete Donohue, transportation reporter for the Daily News, explains the details of the proposed MTA fare and toll hike plan.

Comments [33]

Transportation Nation

NY Conflicted on Hiking Tolls for Trucks

Monday, December 10, 2012

(Karen DeWitt, Albany) The board in charge of setting tolls for New York's main highways is scheduled to meet again next Monday. But there’s still uncertainty whether the New York State Thruway Authority will finally act on a proposal to raise truck tolls.

The 45 percent toll increase on trucks, first proposed by the Thruway Authority last spring, has languished for months as the board has scheduled, then abruptly cancelled several meetings. Opponents, including the trucking industry, have condemned the idea, saying it detracts from the state’s recent efforts to be more business friendly.

At a cabinet meeting called by Governor Andrew Cuomo in recent days, Thruway Authority executive director Tom Madison says it hasn’t been decided yet whether the board will continue to push its proposal at a meeting scheduled for December 17th. Madison says he knows the toll hike idea is widely unpopular.

“We’ve heard at the toll hearings loud and clear from our customers,” Madison said. “We’re exploring every possible alternative.”

Madison spoke following a presentation on proposals for new Tappan Zee Bridge, in which three design options were unveiled as artist's renderings.

Cuomo has neither supported nor condemned the toll hike proposal, saying he understands that the authority, which has been poorly managed in the past, might need new revenue to avoid a bond rating downgrade. The Thruway Authority holds billions of dollars in road construction bonds. But the governor has said he’d like to see toll hikes implemented only as a last resort.

“I don’t think [it's] any mystery. It’s a tough situation for the Thruway,” Cuomo said. “They’re under pressure from the bond underwriters.”

But Cuomo says there have been enough toll hikes lately. The authority has raised the fares several times in the past decade. Less than two weeks ago, tolls were increased on bridges and tunnels controlled by the Port Authority of NY and NJ.

“I don’t think you go to the last resort until you have proven that there is no other viable option,” Cuomo said. “And I don’t believe they’ve gone through that process yet.”

Assembly Republican Leader Brian Kolb has proposed that the Thruway Authority merge with the state’s Transportation Department, to save money. Kolb says the authority has been secretive, and mismanaged. He says he’d rather see an independent audit conducted of the Authority’s books to find out whether a toll hike is really justified.

“You’ve got an agency that won’t answer the bell, in terms of questions about how its finances are run, why is so much money needed,” Kolb said. “They’re not answering the public.”

Madison, with the Thruway Authority, says since he was appointed to his post by Governor Cuomo over a year ago, he has been trying to cut costs.

“We have taken a hard look and continue to do so internally,” said Madison, who says the construction program has been cut by $300 million, and the authority has reduced in operating expenses by $25 million.

The Thruway Authority meeting on December 17th, to approve proposals for a new Tappan Zee Bridge plan, is its first gathering since early August. A spokesman could not say whether the toll hike proposal, in its present or an altered form will be voted upon then. Spokesman Dan Weiller says even though thruway executive director Madison said all options are on the table, he did not mean a toll hike for passenger cars. He says that option has been ruled out.

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Transportation Nation

Tolls Rise On NY-NJ Port Authority Crossings Despite AAA Lawsuit

Friday, November 30, 2012

Drivers at Hudson River crossings will be forking over more money to toll takers like this one. (photo by Danny Guy / Flickr)

(New York, NY - WNYC) Tolls on Port Authority bridges and tunnels are going up this weekend. Starting 3 am on Sunday, cash tolls will rise by a dollar to $13 at the George Washington Bridge, Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, and the three bridges connecting Staten Island to New Jersey.

Off peak E-ZPass rates for cars will increase 75 cents to $8.25. Peak rates will go from $9.50 to $10.25

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey last raised tolls in September, 2011, and plans to raise them again next December. The authority says it needs the money to rebuild the World Trade Center, increase security at its facilities and make repairs like replacing the cables on the George Washington Bridge.

The Automobile Association of America (AAA), remains devoted to rolling back the hikes through a federal lawsuit that argues too much of the Port Authority's budget goes to projects that don't benefit motorists, like the $11 billion cost of rebuilding the World Trade Center.

AAA further claims everyone gets hurt when a trucker paying cash during rush hour has to fork over $75 to cross the George Washington Bridge, because the cost gets passed on to consumers. The association says drivers shoulder an unfair share of the cost of transportation through tolls, a gas tax and various fees. The lawsuit is ongoing.

In September, the ort Authority raised the PATH train fare by a quarter, to $2.25 per trip. The authority plans three more raises of a quarter between now and 2015. Some riders can't take the PATH train no matter how much they're willing to pay: service to and from Hoboken has been down since Sandy.

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Transportation Nation

BREAKING: NY MTA: Monthly MetroCard Could Go Up to $125

Monday, October 15, 2012

The New York MTA has released its new fare hike proposals, bringing the cost of a monthly MetroCard to as much as $125 under one scenario.

The hikes, which came as the authority also proposed a one dollar rise in cash tolls over most of its bridges and tunnels -- to $7.50 -- are not unexpected.  The authority has presented a virtually endless series of hikes to pay for its operations in its current budget.

MTA chief Joe Lhota said the increases are unavoidable. "Costs that the MTA does not exercise control over, namely those for debt service, pensions, energy, paratransit, and employee and retiree health care, continue to increase beyond the rate of inflation."

The proposals will now go to hearings before a final option is settled by the MTA board.

Our Jim O'Grady sends these notes from MTA's headquarters.  We'll have a fleshed out version soon.

METROCARD
The current base fare of MetroCard is $2.25. A 30-day unlimited pass is $104, and a 7-day pass is $29.

There are four proposed versions of the increase, which the MTA is calling 1A, 1B, 2A and 2B. (Click on the below graphic for more detail.)

Under Proposal 1, the base fare would rise to $2.50. Under proposal 1A, the bonus discount would remain unchanged, effectively providing a per-trip fare of $2.34. Under this proposal, the 30-day unlimited MetroCard would rise to $112 and the 7-day would rise to $30. Under proposal 1B, the bonus discount would be eliminated but the increases to time-based cards would be lower. The 30-day would rise to $109 and the 7-day would remain unchanged.

Under Proposal 2, the base fare would remain unchanged. Under Proposal 2A, the bonus discount would be reduced to 5%, effectively increasing the per-trip fare to $2.14. Under this proposal, the 30-day unlimited MetroCard would rise to $125 and the 7-day would rise to $34. Under Proposal 2B, the bonus discount would be eliminated, the 30-day card would rise to $119, and the 7-day would rise to $32.

Under each of these proposals, the $1 surcharge for purchasing a new MetroCard would be implemented.

(image courtesy of MTA)

Eight public hearings are scheduled from November 7 to 15. The public can also record videotaped comments at MTA headquarters and train stations in Long Island and Westchester. From the MTA's website: Members of the public are also encouraged to submit written comments via to the MTA's website, or register to speak at a public hearing by calling (718) 521-3333 between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.  MTA Board Members will review transcripts of all public hearings and submitted videos, as well as copies of all written comments submitted via the web.

The MTA says 2013 fare and toll increase must generate $450 million annually. The 2015 fare increase must raise $500 million annually.

Usage statistics:
38% of fare trips use bonus MetroCard
31% use 3o-day
16% - 7-day
10% - pay per ride
5% - cash

Most Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North tickets would rise by 8% to 9.3%, with the fee increase based on distance.

TOLLS:
E-ZPass discounts  (vs cash) remain.

RFK Bridge, Throgs Neck Bridge, Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, Queens Midtown Tunnel:
E-ZPass - from $4.80 to $5.30
Cash - from $6.50 to $7.50

Verrazano Narrows Bridge:
E-ZPass round trip - from $9.60 to $10.60
Staten Island resident E-ZPass rate:  from $5.76 to $6.36

Henry Hudson Bridge
E-ZPass - $2.20 to $2.43
Tolls by mail (camera snaps license plate, bill mailed to driver; this bridge is cashless) - $4 to $5

Cross Bay, Marine Parkway Bridges
E-ZPass $1.80 to $1.99

 

 

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Transportation Nation

Politics Heating Up Over Big Toll Increase For Trucks On NY State Thruway

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo is fighting with the state comptroller over a toll hike. (photo by azipaybarah / Flickr)

(New York, NY - WNYC) The two-part political rule for any toll increase is a) voters will hate it b) officials must jockey to shift the blame.

That dynamic began today with the release of a report by state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli questioning the need for a proposed 45 percent toll hike on commercial vehicles using the New York State Thruway. He blasted the authority for an operating budget that has ballooned by 36 percent over the past ten years, and urged the authority to save money by "consolidating functions" and handing off control of the money-losing Erie Canal.

“Imposing a large toll increase could have damaging effects on consumers and businesses at a time when many New Yorkers are struggling to recover from the recession,” DiNapoli said. “The Thruway should do more before relying on yet another toll hike to make ends meet.”

Governor Cuomo did not disagree. He echoed DiNapoli in saying tolls should be raised as "a last resort." But while taking questions from reporters in Albany, the governor raised the specter of "a real crisis" for the state if the thruway authority doesn't have the revenue it needs to "fix roads and build new bridges."

Then the finger-pointing began in earnest.

Thomas Madison, the Cuomo-appointed executive director of the thruway authority, fired off a statement blaming DiNapoli's lax oversight for contributing to the authority's dire financial straits. "The Comptroller, and his audits over the years, have actually contributed to past problems at the Thruway Authority by failing to report years of fiscal gimmicks and deferred expenses," Madison said.

Knowing the timeline is crucial to sorting out the argument. Madison took over the thruway authority last September; DiNapoli has been comptroller since early 2007. Madison was essentially blaming prior administrations at the authority for taking out burdensome loans that are now coming due--and DiNapoli for not calling them on it.

Then Madison defended a toll hike this year, at least in theory:

“The fact remains that tolls for large trucks on the Thruway – mostly long distance haulers – are 50 to 85 percent less in New York than in comparable states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania. And each of these trucks creates thousands of times more damage to roads and bridges than a passenger car. Heavy trucks, not passenger vehicles, should bear these added costs, so that tolls can be kept as low as possible for all motorists.”

When reporters asked Cuomo whether the thruway authority should take DiNapoli's suggestion and have the authority give up oversight of the corporation that oversees the the occasionally scandal-plagued Erie Canal, Cuomo dodged the question. "The canal is a great asset to the state," Cuomo said. "I don't think there's anyone who says that we should close down the Erie Canal. It's part of our legacy, it's part of our history, it's important for tourism."

Of course DiNapoli wasn't questioning the canal's importance, only that its operation had cost the authority more than $1 billion over the past two decades--and that the state would be better served to pay the canal's bills with revenue not collected from toll-paying drivers. Cuomo did concede that the canal was hurting the authority's bottom line: "It is not a money-maker at this point," he said.

The first of several public hearings on the toll hikes is scheduled for tomorrow in Buffalo. If passed, the hike would be the fifth increase since 2005.

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WNYC News

Traffic Down But Revenues Soar After Toll Hike At NY-NJ Port Authority Crossings

Monday, April 23, 2012

WNYC

Six months after the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey raised prices at its six bridges and tunnels, the numbers are in: about a half million fewer drivers per month are using them. That's a 5 percent decrease overall.

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New Jersey News

Lautenberg, Port Authority Exec Spar Over Tolls

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Senate committee hearing on the fairness of toll hikes devolved into a slugfest between Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)  and Bill Baroni, deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

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Transportation Nation

New Jerseyans on Toll Hikes: We Don't Care Why They're Being Raised, We Just Care That We Have To Spend More Money

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

(Photo by William Hartz via Flickr)

How do New Jerseyans feel about the New Year's toll hike on the Turnpike and Garden State Parkway?

Notsogood.

"I don't think the commuters really care how you want to characterize it," said Star-Ledger reporter Mike Frassinelli on WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show. "A lot more money is coming out of their pockets. You can call it a tax hike, you can call it a toll hike. They just know more money is coming out of their pockets and they're not really happy with it."

Wednesday's Brian Lehrer Show devoted the last segment of its show to talking about the impact upon drivers.  (You can listen to the segment below.)

Callers were generally unsupportive of the hike -- like Joe in Madison, who said he worked for the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey. He called the toll hike  a tax on small businesses. "It makes it harder for us to do business, and to provide the arts to the community."

One topic on the segment: what Brian called "the political blame game:" NJ Governor Chris Christie is blaming the toll hikes on his predecessor, Jon Corzine -- a statement that is factually correct.

The toll increases were initially planned as a way to help fund the now-canceled trans-Hudson ARC tunnel. Earlier this year, the NJ Turnpike Authority voted to redirect that toll revenue to the state's transportation trust fund.

This week NJ Senator Frank Lautenberg -- an ARC supporter --blasted the governor for allowing the toll hike to go through. "It's shameful that New Jersey commuters are paying more without getting more in return," he said in a statement. "The governor was quick to cancel the badly needed tunnel, but flat-out refused to cancel the associated toll increase."

You can listen to the segment below.

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Transportation Nation

Patrick Foye Named New Executive Director of NY-NJ Port Authority

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Patrick Foye (photo courtesy of the NY MTA)

(New York, NY) Chris Ward’s three-and-a-half year tenure as executive director of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has come to an end. Patrick Foye, an aide to Governor Cuomo and a and former state economic development chief, is in.

Ward, 56, was appointed in 2008 by former New York Governor David A. Paterson. He will now be replaced by Patrick Foye, deputy secretary for economic development for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo announced the appointment in a press release today: "The Port Authority must meet its potential as a major economic engine that plans for the region and attracts business on an international scale. We must also improve its operations and maximize the value out of every dollar spent so that it is financially responsible and respects the tax and toll payers."

Cuomo also said he would propose rolling the Moynihan Station Development Authority and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation into the Port Authority. The move was immediately endorsed by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, who has been an advocate of a redeveloped Moynihan Station.

Foye’s most recent job before that was deputy county executive for economic development for Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano. Foye left that job in January after Mangano decided, against Foye’s advice, to sue a state-appointed control board to prevent it from taking over the county’s finances. The county lost the lawsuit.

Foye, a lawyer who worked with Skadden Arps, is a former downstate chairman for New York’s Empire State Development Corporation. Since May 2010, he has sat on the board of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Unlike the other transportation post Cuomo has to fill -- head of the New York MTA -- Foye's appointment does not require approval of the New York State Senate.

In an interview, MTA board member Mitch Pally said Foye has been active in his role as the appointee from Nassau County in Long Island. “He’s delved into operating details of the system, communication issues with commuters and fare structure,” Pally said.

In a statement, Foye said "I am honored to be recommended for Executive Director of the Port Authority. Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, we have begun to re-energize New York's economy and pave the way for job growth in the state. I thank Governor Cuomo for this opportunity and look forward to working closely with him and the Board of Directors at the Port Authority on maintaining and improving the New York metropolitan region's vital transportation, infrastructure and economic development assets".

By many accounts, Cuomo and Ward never forged a close working relationship. For example, Cuomo’s schedules show no meetings with the Port Authority executive director during the first eight months of 2011. By contrast Foye, as one of the governor’s deputy secretaries, attended three meetings and a staff reception with Cuomo in the past six months.

Ward’s time leading the authority was marked by controversy and achievement: controversy over recent toll and fare increases on Hudson River crossings; achievement, primarily, for cutting through political and legal disputes to ramp up construction at the stalled World Trade Center site.

In particular, Ward sped up the building of the 9/11 memorial to insure its completion in time for the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks. He also helped convince publisher Condé Nast to sign on as a major tenant at 1 World Trade Center, formerly known as The Freedom Tower.

Ward said renaming the anchor skyscraper was crucial to lightening the site’s symbolic weight to focus on more mundane concerns, like construction deadlines. “We were free before 9/11, we were free after 9/11,” he told the New York Times. “New Yorkers don’t need a tower named ‘freedom.’ New Yorkers need to know that we built it, that there’s a place to go and work.”

Ward was less successful in navigating the sharp shoals of toll and fare increases.

He initially proposed to raise toll rates on cash-paying drivers to as much as $15 during peak times, up from $8. He also wanted to hike the PATH commuter train fare by a dollar. What he got—after weeks of criticism from the governors of New York and New Jersey and excoriation from some of the public—was far less. On tolls, he got a $1.50 increase on most drivers beginning last month, and then 75 cents each year for the next four years. On PATH, he got an increase of 25 cents a year for four years.

Ward contended the hikes were necessary to fund the authority’s $33 billion 10-year capital plan, $11 billion rebuilding of the World Trade Center and $6 billion price tag for increased security since the September 11 attacks. Losing that fight left him feeling, in his own words, “burned."

The lower toll hikes means Foye will most likely have to consider cutting some projects from the authority’s capital plan. And that, in the words of the outgoing executive director, will mean: “You’re going to be stuck in traffic on the George Washington Bridge. You’re going to be stuck on buses trying to get into the Port Authority Bus Terminal. You’re going to be stuck at LaGuardia and JFK because [they] don’t have enough runway capacity.”

In the 1990's, Foye, working closely with former U.S.  Senator Alfonse D'Amato, helped put together the takeover of the Long Island Lighting Company, or LILCO, by the Long Island Power Authority.  LILCO had acquired a huge debt constructing the Shoreham nuclear power plant, which was never opened do to safety concerns.

At the time, the deal involved the biggest issuance of municipal bonds in history.

Cuomo also announced the nominations of two new board members to the Port Authority:  James Rubin, a Clinton Assistant Secretary of State, who worked until recently as the executive editor of Bloomberg View, and Rosanna Rosado, the publisher and CEO of El Diario La Prensa.

 

Chris Ward’s three and a half year tenure as executive director of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has come to an end. He announced his resignation today, saying “TK.”

Ward, 56, was appointed in 2008 by former New York Gov. David A. Paterson. He will now be replaced by Pat Foye, deputy secretary for Economic Development for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Foye’s most recent job before that was deputy county executive for economic development for Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano. Foye left that job in January after Mangano decided, against Foye’s advice, to sue a state-appointed control board to prevent it from taking over the county’s finances. The county lost the lawsuit.

Foye, a lawyer, is a former downstate chairman for New York’s Empire State Development Corporation. Since May 2010, he has sat on the board of the NY Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

In an interview, MTA board member Mitch Pally said Foye has been active in his role as the appointee from Nassau County in Long Island. “He’s delved into operating details of the system, communication issues with commuters and fare structure,” Pally said.

In a statement, Foye said, “TK.”

By many accounts, Cuomo and Ward never forged a close working relationship. For example, Cuomo’s schedules show no meetings with the chairman of the NY-NJ Port  Authority during the first eight months of 2011. By contrast Foye, as one of the Governor’s deputy secretaries, attended three meetings and a staff reception with Cuomo in the past six months.

Ward’s time leading the authority was marked by controversy and achievement: controversy over recent toll and fare increases on Hudson River crossings; achievement, primarily, for cutting through political and legal disputes to ramp up construction at the stalled World Trade Center site.

In particular, Ward sped up the building of the 9/11 memorial to insure its completion in time for the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks. He also helped convince publisher Condé Nast to sign on as a major tenant at 1 World Trade Center, formerly known as The Freedom Tower.

Ward said renaming the anchor skyscraper was crucial to lightening the site’s symbolic weight to focus on more mundane concerns, like construction deadlines. “We were free before 9/11, we were free after 9/11,” he told The New York Times. “New Yorkers don’t need a tower named ‘freedom.’ New Yorkers need to know that we built it, that there’s a place to go and work.”

Ward was less successful in navigating the sharp shoals of toll and fare increases.

He initially proposed to raise toll rates on cash-paying drivers to as much as $15 during peak times, up from $8. He also wanted to hike the PATH commuter train fare by a dollar. What he got—after weeks of criticism from the governors of New York and New Jersey and excoriation from some of the public—was far less. On tolls, he got a $1.50 increase on most drivers beginning last month, and then 75 cents each year for the next four years. On PATH, he got an increase of 25 cents a year for four years.

Ward contended the hikes were necessary to fund the authority’s $33 billion 10-year capital plan, $11 billion rebuilding of the World Trade Center and $6 billion price tag for increased security since the September 11 attacks. Losing that fight left him feeling, in his own words, “burned."

The lower toll hikes means Foye will most likely have to consider cutting some projects from the authority’s capital plan. And that, in the words of the outgoing chairman, will mean: “You’re going to be stuck in traffic on the George Washington Bridge. You’re going to be stuck on buses trying to get into the Port Authority Bus Terminal. You’re going to be stuck at LaGuardia and JFK because [they] don’t have enough runway capacity.”

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WNYC News

Toll Hikes To Go Into Effect

Saturday, September 17, 2011

As of 3 a.m. Sunday, it costs drivers more to cross bridges and tunnels owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

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WNYC News

AAA Wants Toll Hikes Stopped

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The AAA motorists' group is asking the U.S. Department of Transportation to block this weekend's toll increase on bridges and tunnels owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Port Authority Proposing Fare Increases

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Andrea Bernstein, WNYC reporter and director of the Transportation Nation blog, discusses the proposed steep fare and toll increases by The Port Authority of NY and NJ and metro-area politician’s responses. 

Drivers, how would a hike to $15 affect your driving habits? Let us know!

Comments [21]

Transportation Nation

Neither Governor Cuomo Nor Governor Christie Rules Out Port Authority Toll Hikes

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (photo courtesy of Gov. Cuomo's flickr page)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey plan to hike Hudson River tolls to as much as $15 for cash-paying drivers during peak hours (from $8) "a non-starter." The proposal would also hike PATH commuter rail fares from $1.75 to $2.75.

But the governor isn't ruling out toll hikes altogether. The governors of New York and New Jersey appoint members to the Port Authority board.

The Port Authority announced late Friday it would be hiking the tolls (which would be be smaller for EZ Pass users) with a joint statement from Governors Cuomo and Christie saying they would need to review the proposal.

The board will hold hearings August 16 and will make a final vote August 19.

At a press conference today in Albany, Cuomo acknowledged the Port Authority needs money.

"To the extent the thrust is: there appear to be long term problems at the Port, and the situation was developing for some time, I think that’s probably right. I’ve heard over the past several months that there are financial issues at the Port and to the extent -- what and how and why  --that’s what we want to find out."

Cuomo added: "I think the proposal is a non-starter for obvious reasons and we’ll now look at what the need for the revenue is."  In a follow-up email, Cuomo spokesman Joshua Vlasto said Cuomo was ruling out this proposal, not any toll hikes whatsoever.

Neither, by the way, did New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at a news conference yesterday, in Burlington City, NJ, where he was asked if he would veto a Port Authority board vote to authorize a toll hike.

"Obviously we both have veto authority over the minutes and we can veto it if we want to, but remember this: the Port made very clear in their announcement on Friday that that would mean that hundreds of projects would have to be stopped, that thousands of people would be laid off, and that progress on the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site would slow, if not stop. So, governing is about choosing. You’ve got to make choices. So, we have a full range of options available to us including the veto.

"Neither one of us are sitting here threatening anything right now because we want to get all the information before we take any public position on it, except to say as you saw in the joint statement that both of us were surprised at the magnitude of the increase that was being asked for and at the condition of the finances of the Port. Now remember just this spring, I finally got my Chairman of the Port Authority in place and so up to this time really Chris Ward’s been running the Port Authority and so these decisions on budgeting and what’s been spent and what’s been wasted have been under Mr. Ward’s purview, not an appointee of the Christie Administration, so now we have General Samson there. He is looking into it for me. He has been controlling things, I think, at a much better rate than has been done before, and I’m pleased with the kind of experience and professionalism that Chairman Samson has brought to his new role but it is a brand-new role. So, we’re digging in. We’re going to find out the information; we’ll see where we go from here."

Cuomo said he'd be huddling with his two appointees, Jeffrey Lynford and Scott Rechler (the other New York board members were appointed by his predecessors) to review the proposal, but his office didn't say whether would have the review completed by August 19.

 

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