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Port Authority on the verge of major toll increase

Those who live, work and play in New York and New Jersey are all too familiar with the many tolls situated on the area's bridges and tunnels. (In fact, many are also probably familiar with the traffic violations/citations that can result from accidentally forgetting to pay these tolls.)

Interestingly, a recent proposal by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to raise these tolls by a rather sizeable margin is now generating both outrage and concern among many motorists.

On August 19, the Port Authority will decide whether to implement a toll increase - starting in September - for commercial truck drivers and car drivers who use cash to pay the tolls.

Specifically, under the proposed toll increase, the typical five-axle tractor-trailer traversing area bridges/tunnels during peak traffic hours will see cash tolls increase by 112 percent and E-ZPass tolls increase by 85 percent.

Similarly, the average car traversing area bridges/tunnels during peak traffic hours will see cash tolls increase by 88 percent and E-ZPass tolls increase by 50 percent.

What then is the purpose behind this increase in the tolls on the Port Authority's tunnels/bridges?

According to agency officials, the purpose of the increased tolls is to ease traffic - especially on the George Washington Bridge - and to force commercial truck drivers to transition toward overnight hours.

"The proposed toll structure focuses the greatest increase on cash users and on trucks that cause the most traffic congestion and wear and tear," read an agency statement.

Interestingly, if commercial truckers opt to use one of the Port Authority's crossings at the Hudson River during the newly expanded overnight hours - now from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. - they will pay the same rates as they are paying now (so long as they have an E-ZPass).

Not surprisingly, the move is not being universally embraced by all parties.

"While we are still in the process of examining the entire proposal, continuing to increase fees, which increase the cost of goods for all consumers, is irresponsible in this struggling economy," said Kendra Adams, the president of the New York Motor Truck Association.

Public hearings on toll increase are scheduled for today.

What are your thoughts on the proposed toll increases?

Stay tuned for further developments from our New York traffic law blog ...

If you have been issued a traffic violation, fight to keep your driving privileges and your insurance premiums as low as possible. Consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Related Resources:

The Times Herald-Record, "Port Authority gears tolls to ease traffic" Aug. 11, 2011

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