Using the bridges and tunnels between New York City and New Jersey will cost truckers a pretty penny with a Port Authority toll hike approved Friday that will increase fares to 5-axle trucks from $40 to $65 per trip beginning next month.
Eventually, those trucks will have to fork over $105 per trip in 2015, a 125% increase, as the Port Authority plans to gradually increases the fee.
Under the plan, trucks that use E-Z Pass will pay an extra $2 per axle beginning in September 2011. The toll will rise by the same amount each December from 2012 to 2015. Cash-paying truck drivers will pay the same increase — plus a $3 per axle penalty.
The toll increase is aimed at bailing out the financially strapped Port Authority, which has $14 billion of debt and runs the city's three airports and major bridges and tunnels. It also leads the World Trade Center rebuilding project that — along with some of its other projects — has had huge cost overruns.
Trucking interests protested the toll hikes pointing out that little of the revenue raised would benefit the infrastructure or the businesses that pay the majority of tolls for using the bridges and tunnels.
“Disappointed would be putting it lightly,” Kendra Adams, president of the New York State Motor Truck Assn. told the New York Post. “We’re irate.”
More than 90% of the goods in NYC are brought in by truck, she said. “You’re going to see increases in clothing, medical supplies, food.”
“They’re making the toll payers a different class of citizen and saying those citizens should be taxed more just because they use a bridge,” Gail Toth, president of the New Jersey Motor Truck Assn. told Land Line magazine. “When did toll payers become responsible for the economic development for a city or for a 20-mile radius of a bridge?”
At least one major shipper has announced it will pull out of Staten Island because it can’t afford to do business in the area in part because of expensive tolls. APL Limited opted out of renewing its lease and will vacate the New York Container Terminal in Mariners Harbor next July, according to Terminal CEO Jim Devine.
“APL, with global headquarters in Singapore, accounts for 37% of the Container Terminal's business. “It is a difficult sell for NYCT with the tolls,” Devine told SILive.
Toll hikes were the sole reason Turkon America Line left NYCT and relocated to New Jersey in 2009. Turkon “continually brought up the toll” as its reason for relocating, Devine said.