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Port Authority's holiday gift: Higher tolls in effect

December 3, 2012 3:33:04 AM PST
The morning commute is now more expensive for drivers after new toll hikes imposed by the Port Authority took effect Sunday.

Cash tolls on the George Washington Bridge, Holland Tunnel, Lincoln Tunnel, Goethals Bridge, Bayonne Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing went up $1 to $13.

Tolls for E-ZPass users jumped from $9.50 to $10.25 during peak commuting hours and from $7.50 to $8.25 during off-peak hours.

"It's the unfortunate reality of life in the big city, I guess," driver Gary Sastow said. "Not happy about it."

The Port Authority last raised tolls in September 2011.

"The timing is just awful, but MTA is going up, everything is going up," driver Desi Ndreu said. "The consumer is going to pay for it, because we have no choice because we have to use it."

The agency said it needed to offset 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.

The pain is especially acute for truck drivers. Five-axle trucks got hit with a $10 increase to $60 if they use E-ZPass during peak hours. The toll is $75 for big rig drivers who pay cash.

And those tolls usually get passed along to customers.

"I think they should consider us more," truck driver Byron Gilzene said. "People have to use this every day on a daily basis, I really think they should think about us more."

Port Authority tolls will next go up on Dec. 1, 2013 unless a lawsuit against the increase is successful.

The toll hikes are so controversial that AAA has filed a lawsuit against the Port Authority, claiming the increases are illegal.

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