AAA attempts to stop latest round of toll increases in New York, New Jersey

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | 10/31/2014

AAA is asking a court judge to stop the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s latest round of toll increases on the George Washington Bridge and other facilities. AAA challenged the Port Authority’s aggressive toll schedule in a lawsuit filed in 2011. Unless the lawsuit succeeds, truck tolls will increase to $80 in December from $70.

AAA filed for preliminary injunction on Friday, Oct. 24, asking a judge to halt the December 2014 round of toll increases while the lawsuit gets decided.

Truckers paid $40 to cross the George Washington Bridge and other Port Authority facilities prior to a series of $10 annual increases that began in 2011. The truck toll is scheduled to top out at $90 in 2015.

AAA doesn’t like the way the Port Authority carried out the increases and claims the meetings, documents and public comment period were largely buried and not accessible to the public.

Another sticking point in the challenge is how the Port Authority plans to spend the money – not just on roads and bridges, but on the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site and other economic development projects on both sides of the state line.

According to documents, only about one-third of the Port Authority’s $33 billion capital improvement plan would actually go to highways and bridges.

AAA, truckers and other highway user groups oppose the diversion of highway and bridge funds for non-infrastructure use.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office and state and federal lawmakers have taken issue with the toll increases and transparency at the Port Authority.

AAA has been fighting the Port Authority over road funding and transparency through various complaints and legal filings since 1984.

See related stories:
Truckers insulted by 125 percent tax increase in NY-NJ
AAA sues Port of New York and New Jersey over toll increases
Joint toll authorities lack public accountability, GAO says
New Jersey Senate approves Port Authority reforms

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