Not a fun week to be a toll collector in New York City. In the wee hours of Sunday morning, a rate increase went into effect for drivers entering the city at six high-traffic crossings, including the Lincoln and Holland tunnels and the George Washington bridge. Tolls rose $1.50, to $9.50, for EZ-Pass users during peak hours and will continue to climb periodically through December of 2015, until the rate is $12.50. For drivers paying cash, the toll rose $4, to $12, and will continue to stay two bucks ahead of the EZ-Pass rate, rounded up. Using an ezpassny makes life much easier for the driver as it is much more convenient and quicker. As it is a cashless system, it also means that drivers don’t have to carry cash around with them to pay these new toll prices.
The new rates come courtesy of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which announced the increase in late August. The governors of both states, who control the agency, approved the increase — and took credit for keeping it from being even higher [PDF] — and Mayor Bloomberg has supported it too. Port Authority cited “multiple unprecedented challenges” for the decision, including the deterioration of New York’s tunnels and bridges as well as the rising cost of the World Trade Center, whose construction falls under the authority’s authority.
That last reasoning doesn’t sit well with AAA. Last Friday, just days before the scheduled increase, the auto association’s New York office wrote a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood condemning the toll hike as a violation of a federal law. AAA officials believe any transportation-related user fees should go directly back into transportation costs — not “speculative real estate re-development costs” like the World Trade Center. (It should be noted that the new center is a major transit hub for the PATH commuter train.) The association even considered suing the authority to block the increase, according to the Associated Press.
Read the entire article at: Atlantic Cities
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