Press Release Article


PORT AUTHORITY BOARD APPROVES TWO-PART FISCAL HEALTH PLAN THAT INCLUDES REVISED TOLL AND FARE RATES AND DEMANDS AGENCY ACCOUNTABILITY THROUGH COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW

Date: Aug 19, 2011
Press Release Number: 93-2011

  • Plan reduces originally proposed rates
  • Balances transportation and economic development needs of region with toll and fare payers’ economic realities
  • Approval contingent on requirement of comprehensive review of the agency’s capital plan and operations to ensure accountability
  • $25.1 billion capital plan funds key projects and will generate more than 131,000 jobs with approximately 60% invested in next four years

Following direction by Governors Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Board of Commissioners today approved a two-part plan to restore fiscal health to the agency by increasing toll and fare rates at a lower level than originally proposed and demanding accountability through a stringent agency-wide review.

Under the Governors’ direction, the Capital Plan was reviewed in a line-by-line analysis and was able to be reduced by $5 billion. This allowed a reduction in the proposed toll rates while still ensuring the agency’s finances would be stabilized.

The $25.1 billion immediate 10-year capital plan will generate more than 131,000 jobs and was achieved by giving critical attention to safety, security and state-of-good-repair projects, including completion of the World Trade Center, while and phasing in other less immediate projects over more than 10 years. Approximately 60 percent of the plan, $15 billion, will be invested in the next four years supporting a much needed boost to the regional economy. The immediate projects funded in the plan include:

  • George Washington Bridge suspender ropes
  • Lincoln Tunnel Helix rehabilitation
  • Bayonne Bridge roadway raising
  • New Goethals Bridge with both Port Authority and private investment
  • PATH Car, signal, and station modernizations
  • Airport runway and taxiway modernizations
  • Security enhancements at all facilities
  • Port infrastructure improvements to rail and roads in the port
  • Completion of the World Trade Center

The revised toll and fare rates recognize the severe financial constraints facing the agency and the financial limitations on regional commuters and businesses dependant on the Port Authority’s transportation network each day. The details of the revised toll and fare rates approved today include:

  • Tolls on cars using E-ZPass will increase $1.50 in September 2011 and then 75 cents in December each year from 2012-2015 for a total increase of $4.50 over five years, down from the proposed $6 increase over four years.
  • Cars paying with cash will have the same increase, but will be subject to an additional $2 penalty (rounded up to the nearest whole dollar).
  • Tolls on trucks using E-ZPass will pay an additional $2 per axle in September 2011, and then an additional $2 per axle in December of each year from 2012 -2015
  • Tolls on trucks paying cash will have the same increase but will be subject to an additional $3 per axle cash penalty.
  • Fares on the PATH train will increase 25 cents per year for the next four years.

Text of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Toll Report and Resolution is copied below. The Board resolutions will also be posted on the Port Authority’s website www.panynj.gov following the Board meeting.

TOLL INCREASES FOR VEHICULAR CROSSINGS – REPORT

Faced with multiple unprecedented challenges at once – an historic economic recession that has sharply decreased Port Authority revenues below projections; steep increases in post-9/11 security costs, which have nearly tripled, and the overall cost of the World Trade Center rebuilding, and the need for the largest overhaul of facilities in the Port Authority’s 90-year history, on August 5, 2011, the Port Authority announced proposed bridges and tunnels toll and PATH fare increases and public hearings to be conducted in connection therewith.

Consistent with that announcement, on August 16, 2011, testimony and comments were received from public officials, private citizens and interested organizations at the nine public hearings (four in each State and one via the Internet) and one meeting held within the Port District.

On August 18, 2011, a letter was received from the Governors of New York and New Jersey reiterating their previous public statements that the toll and fare increases, as proposed by the Port Authority were unacceptable and directing the Commissioners to examine how the Port Authority could immediately reduce costs and the future needs of the capital program in order to reduce the toll and fare increases. The Governors further directed the Port Authority to craft a toll and fare increase that reduced the burden on drivers, commuters and businesses but insured that the Port Authority’s finances would be stabilized.

The Governors directed a two-part approach to future financial management, demanding accountability, review and approval of internal practices and tracking how dollars are being spent. The Governors also indicated that they would not oppose a revised toll and fare increase proposal along the following lines:

  • Tolls on cars using E-ZPass will increase $1.50 in September 2011 and then 75 cents in December of each year from 2012-2015;
  • Tolls on cars paying with cash will have the same increase but will be subject to an additional $2 penalty (rounded up to the nearest whole dollar);
  • Tolls on trucks using E-ZPass will pay an additional $2 per axle in September 2011, and then an additional $2 per axle in December of each year from 2012-2015;
  • Tolls on trucks paying cash will have the same increase but will be subject to an additional $3 per axle cash penalty;
  • Fares on the PATH system will increase 25 cents a year for four years.

As a condition for these toll and fare increases the Governors directed the Commissioners to immediately commence a comprehensive audit of the Port Authority focusing on both a financial audit of the Port Authority’s ten-year capital plan to reduce its size and cost and a review of the Port Authority’s management and operations to find ways to lower costs and increase efficiencies.

Based upon a review of the public comments received during the public hearings and the guidance of the Governors, staff has concluded that the toll and fare increases outlined above provides a viable alternative that balances capital needs with regional economic realities.

At its meeting today, the PATH Board of Directors is also considering a change in the PATH fare structure.

TOLL INCREASE FOR VEHICULAR CROSSINGS – RESOLUTION

Pursuant to the foregoing report, the following resolution was adopted:

RESOLVED, that the toll schedule contained in the resolution of the Board of Commissioners establishing tolls for the use of Port Authority vehicular crossings, adopted on January 4, 2008, be and the same hereby is revised to provide that vehicles in the classes set forth below shall be subject to the tolls indicated for such classes, effective at 3:00 a.m. on the dates indicated, for passage on the vehicular crossings of the Port Authority in the New York-bound direction, no tolls to be collected for New Jersey-bound passage:

Class 1 vehicles - two axles, single rear wheels: E-ZPass® off-peak toll shall be $7.50 effective September 18, 2011; $8.25 effective the first Sunday in December, 2012; $9.00 effective the first Sunday in December, 2013; $9.75 effective the first Sunday in December, 2014; and $10.50 effective the first Sunday in December, 2015; and the E-ZPass peak toll shall be $9.50 effective September 18, 2011; $10.25 effective the first Sunday in December, 2012; $11.00 effective the first Sunday in December, 2013; $11.75 effective the first Sunday in December, 2014; and $12.50 effective


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