Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, September 16, 2011

American Automobile Association may sue over toll increases in NYC

See "AAA Wants Feds to Stop NY-NJ Bridge, Tunnel Toll Hike" from the New York Post.

From the article:

AAA is urging the U.S. Department of Transportation to block a plan to increase tolls by as much as 50 percent on the bridges and tunnels between New York City and New Jersey beginning Sunday, saying the hikes violate federal law.

Besides the sticker shock to commuters, the motorists group said Thursday that it objects to using toll revenues for building the new World Trade Center at the site owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

“One of our primary missions is to make sure that any tolls and revenue and any user fees go back into transportation,” said Marta Genovese, vice president of legal affairs for AAA. “But in this case it’s going into a speculative office development.”

The group said the increase violates a federal law that requires bridge tolls to be “just and reasonable,” and it sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood asking him to act.

“It’s an egregious example of the motorists getting ripped off,” AAA New York spokesman Robert Sinclair said.

Cash tolls on the George Washington Bridge, Holland Tunnel, Lincoln Tunnel, Goethals Bridge, Bayonne Bride and Outerbridge Crossing are scheduled to rise from $8 to $12 at 3 a.m. on Sunday. Peak-hour tolls for users of the E-ZPass electronic payment system will go from $8 to $9.50.

By December 2015 cash tolls would increase gradually to $15 under a plan approved Aug. 19 by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Peak-hour tolls for E-ZPass users would rise gradually to $12.50.

They may have a point, except that general fund revenues of the Port Authority end up funding transportation, as do state and local government general fund monies generally.

On the other hand, I don't think that the AAA will come out in favor of massive increases to gasoline excise taxes either.

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