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Port Authority Approves Massive Toll Increases

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, in what the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey calls “Inflation-based increases” and claiming they are required to fund highest levels of investment in its history and operations of Port Authority’s vital transportation assets;

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Bridge and tunnel tolls to go up starting Sunday

Lincoln Tunnel

NOVEMBER 30, 2015, 7:02 PM    LAST UPDATED: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2015, 12:30 AM

No one likes a toll hike. And next week, a toll hike package approved in 2011 will reach its zenith — starting Sunday, cash-paying drivers will have to pay $15 to cross the George Washington Bridge, nearly double what it cost just a few years ago.

But there could be a small silver lining. Because after a series of back-to-back annual increases beginning in 2011, this may be the last toll hike North Jersey drivers will have to pay for at least a few years, according to a major credit agency’s prediction. The cash |toll currently is $14. Drivers with E-ZPass will see their tolls rise |75 cents during peak hours, to $12.50.

The toll increases were included in a controversial package approved by the Port Authority’s board in 2011. Two years later, The Record revealed that the increase was part of a coordinated plan by Governor Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to subvert public input and advance an even higher increase, only to impose a slightly more modest hike to make themselves appear financially responsible.

The strategy may backfire on the Port Authority, according to Moody’s, a credit rating firm. The toll increase makes the PA more dependent than ever on money from its interstate bridges and tunnels, as revenue from airports has declined. But total vehicle traffic is down, and many people remain angry about the rising costs.

That could make future toll hikes politically difficult, good news for drivers but bad for the Port Authority.