The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officially boosted fares on bridges, tunnels and PATH trains on Sunday, in an effort to raise revenue toward future road repairs, infrastructure upgrades and rebuilding at the World Trade Center site.
Drivers entering New York from New Jersey via the George Washington Bridge, Holland Tunnel, Lincoln Tunnel, Goethals Bridge, Bayonne Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing will now have to pay a $12 cash toll, up from $8. Peak-hour tolls for E-ZPass users has also risen from $8 to $9.50.
However, tolls are expected to rise even further, to $15 in December 2015 after a series of increases.
Public transit users have also been hit with a fare hike. PATH train fares have gone up from $1.75 to $2 for a single ride.
Needs Money For Maintenance
Port Authority officials, who proposed the toll hike in August, said the money will be used to fund the maintenance of tunnels, bridges and other transportation infrastructure. The agency also said more revenue is needed to cover security costs that have occurred as a result of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Last week, the Automobile Association of American (AAA) wrote to the U.S. Department of Transportation in an effort to block the toll increase. AAA accused the Port Authority of misusing funds that are only supposed to be spent on transportation by using some the toll revenue to fund construction at the World Trade Center site.
In this case, it's going into a speculative office development, Marta Genovese, the vice president of legal affairs for AAA, said at a news briefing.
In addition to raising fares, the Port Authority also plans to sell $1 billion in 40-year debt to help finance construction at the World Trade Center site, Bloomberg news reports. Proceeds of the sale will pay for a number of the agency's projects at the site in Lower Manhattan, including One World Trade Center, a new transportation and vehicle-security center.
The Port Authority does not receive tax revenue. It mostly relies on tolls and transit fares to meet its expenses.
Commuters who spoke to media outlets on Monday morning expressed frustration with the toll surges.
It's not fair. The roads are still just as bad as they were yesterday, one driver told NY1. Other motorists said they may reconsider their daily commute in an effort to avoid the costly tolls.
I've been driving less. Trying to mix up my commute. Taking PATH a couple more times a week than I normally would, said one commuter.
When the final $15 tolls are in effect in 2015, motorists who drive into New York from New Jersey once a day, five days a week will spend approximately $3,900 a year just on bridge or tunnel fares.