The American Automobile Association of New York and the AAA of New Jersey filed a federal lawsuit yesterday against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s approved toll and fare hikes. The lawsuit follows a request made by AAA on Sept. 15 to investigate the authority’s act as a violation of the Federal Bridge Act and is an attempt to stop the toll hikes from being collected on the authority’s six bridges and tunnels connecting New York and New Jersey. In addition to the lawsuit, AAA has asked the authority to “turn over the capital plan that stands behind the need for toll increases.”
AAA says that the authority’s toll rates go against a 1989 court decision that states that “the use of toll revenue must be functionally related to transportation” says Marta Genovese, AAA New York’s vice president and counsel. AAA also claims that the main reason for the toll hikes is to help subsidize projects such as the World Trade Center by generating billions of dollars.
“The authority is attempting to burden commuters and travelers with public expenditures that are in no way related to transportation,” says Genovese.
The toll increases were implemented on Sept. 18 and will increase every year until 2015, says AAA. If the court grants AAA’s request, the port authority “will be forced to roll back the Sept. 18 toll increase and be prevented from implementing increases now planned for December 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.