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Port Authority's major toll increase now a reality for NYC motorists

In vehicle traffic law news, motorists traveling to and from New York City are likely very irritated this morning but not because it's the start of a new workweek. Rather, they are likely irritated over having to pay substantially higher tolls on some of the city's busiest thoroughfares.

As of 3 a.m. Sunday, all motorists using any of the following bridges/tunnels between New York and New Jersey - the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln Tunnel, Holland Tunnel, Goethals Bridge, Bayonne Bridge, and Outerbridge Crossing - must pay a toll of $12 each way if they plan to use cash. Similarly, drivers with the E-ZPass system must now pay $9.50 each way. This constitutes an increase of $4 and $1.50 respectively.

Currently, these tolls are set to go even higher by December 2015, with cash tolls climbing to $15 and E-ZPass tolls to $12.50.

Interestingly, the Port Authority originally proposed even higher tolls, but backed off when threatened with vetoes by both New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Why then is the Port Authority pursuing this toll increase?

According to officials, the increased toll revenue is needed to offset losses caused by the recent recession and homeland security projects. Furthermore, the revenue will go toward funding the new $11 billion World Trade Center.

It is worth noting that AAA recently wrote to the U.S. Department of Transportation, pleading with the government agency to stop the toll increase.

Specifically, the letter claimed that the toll increase was in violation of a federal law mandating "just and reasonable tolls," and that toll revenue was not being adequately diverted to improving the transportation infrastructure.

"One of our primary missions is to make sure that any tolls and revenue and any user fees go back into transportation," said Marta Genovese, AAA's vice president of legal affairs. "But in this case, it's going into a speculative office development."

What are your thoughts on the proposed toll increases?

Stay tuned for further developments from our New York vehicle 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:

NBC New York, "Bridge, tunnel toll hikes now in effect" Sept. 19, 2011

The Gothamist, "AAA want to stop the Port Authority toll hikes" Sept. 15, 2011

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