Bridge, Tunnel Toll Hikes Now in Effect

Commuters crossing bridges and tunnels between New York City and New Jersey are now paying higher toll prices as a result of the price hike passed last month by the Port Authority.

The new toll, which went into effect at 3 a.m. Sunday, is $12 each way for cash-paying drivers crossing the George Washington Bridge, Holland Tunnel, Lincoln Tunnel, Goethals Bridge, Bayonne Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing. That's a $4 increase over the previous toll price of $8. 

E-ZPass users now pay $9.50 for each trip during peak hour, up from $8.

By December 2015 cash tolls will increase gradually to $15 under the plan approved Aug. 19. Peak-hour tolls for E-ZPass users will rise gradually to $12.50.

AAA last week urged the U.S. Department of Transportation to block the toll increase, claiming the hikes violate federal law.

The group said the increase violates a federal law that requires bridge tolls to be "just and reasonable," and it sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood asking him to act.

"It's an egregious example of the motorists getting ripped off," AAA New York spokesman Robert Sinclair said.

AAA also said using toll revenues to build the new World Trade Center site owned by the Port Authority goes against the organization's mission to ensure tolls and revenues go back into transportation, not into "speculative office development."

The Port Authority had originally proposed even steeper toll increases, but was forced to scale back after the governors of New York and New Jersey threatened to veto them.

In addition to the bridge toll increases, the fare on the Port Authority Trans-Hudson subway line will rise from $1.75 to $2 on Sunday. By 2015 it is scheduled to increase to $2.75.

The Port Authority's coffers have been hit hard by security-related projects following the 9/11 attacks, a drop in revenue caused by the global economic slump, and the $11 billion World Trade Center complex.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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