The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is scheduled to vote on its controversial Hudson River toll/fare hike proposal this Friday, three days after it held a series of public hearings in both states. NY/NJ residents reportedly packed hearing rooms and vented frustration over the hefty hikes, which include a near doubling of the peak-hour cash toll to $15 this year and an additional $2 in 2014.
The PA cites several factors for a need to raise revenues, including more than $11 billion in funding necessary to rebuild the World Trade Center and $6 billion in increased security requirement costs since the September 11 attacks.
Cable news station NY1, which aired part of the hearings in Staten Island, reported that union workers took up most of the seats and that these workers said the hikes would create jobs. However, that sentiment garnered little sympathy.
"You guys want jobs? Fine. Go get them somewhere else. Not off my back. My paycheck can't take it anymore," Staten Island resident Andrew Scudera said in the broadcast.
The PA says it has received "unprecedented" support for the proposal from more than 60 labor, business and civic groups, including the General Contractors Association of New York.
"This toll increase is truly an example of the costs of deferring needed capital projects to the point where they become critical," says Denise Richardson, CAGNY managing director. "Projects like replacement of the 80-year-old George Washington Bridge suspender cables and the 100-year-old PATH duct banks and the aged Lincoln Tunnel helix cannot wait any longer."