By ROCCO ARTESIAN
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, an embattled agency rift with scandals – most notably the George Washington Bridge/Chris Christie administration closure debacle – is allegedly concluding its five year toll hike assault. The fifth of a series of toll increases has been launched this weekend. A fiscally negligent agency who continuously seeks to soak the pocketbooks of New York, New Jersey and out-of-state travelers, the newest toll hikes include: $15 for passenger vehicles, and $105 for five axle, 18-wheel trucks.
“In our reading of the Port Authority’s 2016 budget, we find more expenditures of the type that violate federal law and initiated our ongoing lawsuit,” said Robert Sinclair, manager of media relations for AAA Northeast, a not-for-profit auto club with 61 offices throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. “Much needed revenues for interstate projects should not be diverted to road and bridge repair in New Jersey,” Sinclair said. “Five years and five toll hikes later, we still seek answers as to how much money the toll increases have raised and where the money is going as the Port Authority embarks on building a vitally important trans-Hudson rail tunnel and Manhattan bus terminal,” Sinclair continued.
Port Authority’s new budget reveals payments for bridges, tunnels and terminals of over $950 million. A large portion of these expenditures (approximately $590 million) is earmarked to be spent on repairs of the Pulaski Skyway, the Whittpenn Bridge, and Routes 1 and 9 – which are not part of the Port Authority’s Interstate Transportation Network. It is therefore highly questionable if these projects should be funded by monies raised from tolls.
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