Press Release Article


AMID RECORD VOLUME ACROSS FACILITIES, PORT AUTHORITY SUBMITS PLAN FOR FIRST INFLATION-BASED TOLL AND FARE CHANGES SINCE 2015 TO BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

Date: Jun 25, 2019
Press Release Number: 107-2019

Changes to toll structures, PATH fares, AirTrain fares, and airport ground transportation access fee

Required to fund historically high levels of investment in and operations of the Port Authority’s vital infrastructure

Bridges and tunnels toll increases based on inflation-based schedule mandated by Board in 2008 and affirmed in 2011; triggered by cumulative impact of inflation since 2015 reaching $1.00 threshold

Cash/Toll by Mail rate proposed to increase by $1.00 on January 5, 2020;

E-ZPass peak discount to be reduced from $2.50 to $2.25; off-peak discount to be reduced from $4.50 to $4.25

PATH base fare will remain $2.75; multi-trip discount to be reduced – first change in five years effective November 1, 2019

AirTrain JFK fare has not changed since system launched in 2003;

Last increase to AirTrain Newark fare came in 2005;

Fares for both AirTrains will move to $7.75, effective November 1, 2019

Proposed Ground Transportation Access Fee on for-hire vehicles and taxis in line with fees at peer airports; proposes adoption of LAX fee structure by mid to late 2020

Series of six public hearings (three in New York, three in New Jersey) to solicit input


Amid record-setting use of its facilities and with major redevelopment projects underway across the region, the Port Authority today advanced to its Board of Commissioners a proposal for the first inflation-based toll increases to the agency’s six bridges and tunnels since 2015 in line with the inflation-adjusted schedule mandated by the Board in 2008 and reaffirmed in 2011. The automatic increases are triggered when the cumulative impact of inflation on existing toll rates reaches $1.00, as measured from the last increase. The cumulative impact of inflation since 2015 will reach this level in 2020, prompting an increase of the cash toll rate at all Port Authority crossings from $15.00 to $16.00, as of January 5, 2020. The proposal also makes changes to three other aspects of the toll schedule: 1) discounts for out-of-state E-ZPass accounts; 2) the NY/NJ Staten Island Bridges discount program; and 3) the Carpool Discount program.

In addition, the proposal addresses changes to PATH’s fare structure with the PATH base fare remaining at its current $2.75 for a single trip but reducing the discount for PATH multi-trip fares. The proposal also includes increases to the AirTrain fares at JFK and Newark, which have not changed since 2003 and 2005, respectively. An airport ground transportation access fee is proposed to be charged to all for-hire vehicles and taxis, consistent with the practice at peer airports.

These proposals will be the subject of a series of six public hearings held in multiple locations in New York and New Jersey during both the morning and evening hours to ensure the public has ample opportunity to share its views with Commissioners. The hearings will present an update of the agency’s record levels of investment in the region’s infrastructure and the proposed changes in toll, fare, and fee structure.

Unprecedented Investment and Tangible Progress in Rebuilding Region’s Infrastructure

The Port Authority is delivering an unprecedented level of investment as the agency rebuilds the region’s infrastructure and works to transform its legacy assets into modern, world-class facilities capable of meeting 21st century expectations. Tangible progress in developing these new and revitalized facilities as part of the agency’s unprecedented 10-year Capital Plan is now underway and beginning to be visible throughout the region.

Airports: More than $30 billion in public and private funding committed to transform the region’s three major airports into world-class gateways.

Tangible Progress:

  • Opened last December the first new 18-gate concourse at LaGuardia Airport as part of the $8 billion complete rebuild of the airport
  • Broke ground last year on the redevelopment of Newark Liberty Airport’s Terminal One
  • Construction expected to begin this fall on the transformation of JFK Airport
  • Began in May 2019 the FAA’s environmental review process for the AirTrain LGA
  • Advanced a new $2 billion project for a new AirTrain Newark

Tunnels, Bridges, & Terminals: More than $10 billion investment program to rebuild and fortify the bridges, tunnels and bus commuter facilities.

Tangible Progress:

  • Completed the new $1.5 billion Goethals Bridge – the first new bridge built by the Port Authority in 87 years – which opened last year
  • Completed in June the $1.7 billion project to raise and fully rebuild the roadway of the Bayonne Bridge – enabling record levels of cargo and providing a 21st century crossing for New Jersey and Staten Island residents
  • Construction underway for the $1.9 billion effort to “Restore the George” to ensure the bridge’s long-term structural health
  • Began in May the formal environmental review process for the replacement of obsolete Port Authority Bus Terminal

PATH: More than $4 billion investment program to improve reliability, capacity and customer experience.

Tangible Progress:

  • Progressed in December a new signal system to become the first railroad in the region to meet federally-mandated safety standards
  • Initiated the PATH Improvement Plan – consisting of strategic investments to increase capacity, reduce delays, and enhance customer experience
  • Installed last year real-time train information through on-platform countdown clocks and the new RidePATH smartphone app
  • Opened over the last 8 months the new headhouses of the Harrison Station – the first new PATH station in New Jersey in more than two decades
  • Advanced multiple projects in the $2 billion Superstorm Sandy resiliency program

Port: More than $2 billion of public and private investments facilitating record growth and enabling the Port of NY and NJ to overtake Long Beach, CA as the second busiest port in the U.S. based on volumes through the first four months of 2019.

Tangible Progress:

  • Facilitated access of ultra-large, efficient cargo ships to the ports by raising the Bayonne Bridge
  • Completed this month the fourth and final major terminal rail facility creating a state-of-the-art ship to rail capability, dramatically increasing the Port’s capacity to deliver or receive goods to/from destinations in the interior of the country through mainline freight railroads (CSX and Norfolk Southern)
  • Added new barges, locomotives, and related infrastructure for cross-harbor rail operations

World Trade Center: More than $1 billion invested to complete infrastructure investments that support the revitalization of the WTC site and surrounding community.

Tangible Progress:

  • Opened 3 WTC last summer
  • Created an increasingly dynamic and appealing campus that is becoming a magnet for the Lower Manhattan community and visitors
  • Advanced the construction of the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center

The Port Authority is a self-funded, independent agency that does not rely on taxpayer dollars or funding from the states of New York or New Jersey. While the Port Authority generates substantial non-toll and non-fare revenues through third-party fees, rentals, and other charges to businesses operating at its facilities, these sources are not enough to cover the full cost of building and operating the Port Authority’s facilities. To maintain the Port Authority’s unprecedented investment and tangible progress in rebuilding and improving the region’s infrastructure, additional funding is required from tolls, fares, fees, and other charges. The proposed increases keep pace with inflation, are consistent with peer agencies, and remain true to prior Board actions.

“Port Authority facilities are vital to the regional and national economy. Regional growth is driving record volumes across our facilities all while the agency is delivering on unprecedented levels of infrastructure investment,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “We look forward to hearing from the public on the proposals announced today which build on the work of previous boards and are necessary to maintain our commitment to transforming legacy assets into modern, world-class facilities capable of meeting 21st century expectations.”

“At a time of the Port Authority’s unprecedented investment in our region’s infrastructure to upgrade Port Authority facilities to 21st century standards, we must be prepared to provide needed funding. These recommended increases in tolls and fares are both needed and measured,” said Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton. “We also sought to spread the increases across all our operations to avoid undue burdens. We are wholly committed to delivering improved facilities as we ask our customers to share in supporting the infrastructure investments the region so desperately needs and deserves.”

Prior Board Actions

First, in 2008, the Board passed a resolution that established an inflation adjustment for the toll structure of the Port Authority’s bridges and tunnels that provided for an automatic increase in tolls when the cumulative impact of inflation on then current tolls reached $1.00. In 2011, faced with fiscal challenges from the recession as well as increased security needs, the Board adopted new, specific annual toll increases in the years 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The Board-approved toll schedule carried forward the automatic, inflation-based formula as established in 2008. Based on cumulative inflation since 2015, the $1.00 trigger will be reached in 2020. The actions proposed below follow through on the implementation of this inflation-based formula, with some variations based on changing market conditions and technology.

Second, in determining capital capacity for the Port Authority’s 2017-2026 Capital Plan, the Board’s 10-year plan rested on the assumption “that the Board of Commissioners will take certain actions in the future to create or raise certain fees and charges at [Port Authority] facilities to maintain a balanced [capital] plan.” The actions described below also follow through on this prior Board decision.

Inflation-based toll and fare adjustments

At the bridges and tunnels (which include the Outerbridge Crossing, Goethals Bridge, Bayonne Bridge, Holland Tunnel, Lincoln Tunnel and George Washington Bridge), the cash/toll by mail rate for cars during all hours will increase by $1.00 from $15.00 to $16.00 at the beginning of 2020. The E-ZPass peak discount for cars will be reduced from $2.50 to $2.25; and the E-ZPass off-peak discount will be reduced from $4.50 to $4.25. The reason for the proposed reduction to the E-ZPass discount is that E-ZPass usage by customers has reached high enough levels (over 85%) to no longer warrant the level of discount to incentivize adoption. The proposed toll schedule will take effect on January 5, 2020.

After 2020, tolls will again be adjusted when the cumulative inflation increase reaches $1.00, prompting an increase in the cash/toll by mail rate of $1.00. At this time, the car E-ZPass toll discount would be reduced by an additional $0.25. Thereafter, inflation-based adjustments will be applied to all elements of the toll charges.

Tolls at all Port Authority crossings are only collected from eastbound traffic.

A full breakdown of all proposed adjustments is included below:

Tolls at Port Authority Bridges & Tunnels
Vehicle TypeExisting Off-PeakProposed Off-Peak (2020)Existing PeakProposed Peak (2020)
Car: Cash/Mail$15.00 $16.00 $15.00 $16.00
Car: E-ZPass$10.50 $11.75 $12.50 $13.75
3-Axle: Cash/Mail$63.00 $66.00 $63.00 $66.00
3-Axle: E-ZPass$51.00 $54.00 $54.00 $57.00
Each Add'l Axle: Cash/Mail$21.00 $22.00 $21.00 $22.00
Each Add'l Axle: E-ZPass$17.00 $18.00 $18.00 $19.00
Motorcycle: E-Zpass*$9.50 $10.75 $11.50 $12.75
Staten Island Discount**$6.25 $6.88 $6.25 $6.88
Inflation adjustments to apply going forward

* = Motorcycles pay the same cash/toll by mail rate as regular cars

** = The Staten Island Commuter Plan’s existing discount is for 3 or more trips taken in a calendar month; the proposed discount is for 10 or more trips taken in a calendar month


Additionally, the proposal calls for three other changes in the toll structure at bridges and tunnels: 1) Consistent with other tolling agencies in the region, limit E-ZPass toll discounts to users registered with a New York or New Jersey E-ZPass Customer Service Center account; 2) Discontinue the Carpool Discount program in preparation for eventual all electronic tolling at all crossings and to address safety concerns; and 3) Modify the NY/NJ Staten Island Bridges discount program to target commuters by increasing the qualifying trips to 10 per month.

On PATH, which has not seen a fare increase since 2014, the current rate for a single-ride fare will stay at its current level of $2.75. The discount for multi-trip purchases will be preserved but be reduced. The per-ride price for multi-trip purchases (10-trip, 20-trip or 40-trip options) will be adjusted to $2.50 on November 1, 2019 and $2.60 a year later. After 2020, it is proposed that PATH maintain an inflation-based adjustment mechanism for all fares.

PATH Fares
Fare OptionExistingProposed
Single-Ride$2.75 $2.75
10-Trip - SmartLink$21.00 $25.00 in 2019; $26.00 in 2020
Senior SmartLink$1.00 $1.25 in 2019
SmartLink 1-Day Pass$8.25 $10.00 in 2019; $10.50 in 2020
SmartLink 7-Day Pass$29.00 $34.50 in 2019; $36.00 in 2020
SmartLink 30-Day Pass$89.00 $106.00 in 2019; $110.25 in 2020
Fares would be subject to inflation adjustment going forward

The fare for AirTrain JFK has remained at the same level since the system launched in 2003. Nearly 16 years later, the system has carried well over 100 million passengers and is the 10th busiest rail system in the country as measured by annual passenger volume. The fare for AirTrain Newark was last modified in 2005. Fares to and from the airport for both systems are proposed to increase to $7.75 effective November 1, 2019, and the proposal provides for an inflation adjustment mechanism going forward.

AirTrain Fares***
Fare OptionExistingProposed
AirTrain JFK$5.00$7.75
AirTrain Newark $5.00$7.75
Fares would be subject to inflation adjustment going forward

*** = These fare options do not show multi-trip and unlimited options, which remain the same.

For years, peer airports have imposed ground transportation access fees on for-hire vehicles, including both app-based services and taxis that enter the airport. Some of these fees were imposed more than 10 years ago. The proposed airport ground transportation access fee at LaGuardia, JFK International and Newark Liberty International would be based on the Los Angeles model of $4.00 per vehicle for app-based and other black car for-hire vehicles, both for picking up and dropping off passengers. As in the Los Angeles model, taxis would only be charged the access fee for picking up passengers.

AirportFor-Hire-Vehicle (FHV)Taxi
Pick UpDrop OffPick UpDrop Off
Los Angeles$4.00 $4.00 $4.00 -
Chicago$5.60 $5.60 $4.00 -
San Francisco$4.50 $4.50 $4.50 -
Washington DC$4.00 $4.00 $3.00 $3.00 (IAD only)

Proposed Adoption of LAX’s Model for the Airport Ground Transportation Access Fee

Effective by the fourth quarter of 2020



AirportFor-Hire-Vehicle (FHV)Taxi
Pick UpDrop OffPick UpDrop Off
EWR, LGA, JFK$4.00$4.00$4.00-

The Board is committed to thoroughly soliciting public input as it considers these proposed actions. To ensure the public has ample opportunity to share its views, six public hearings at multiple locations in New York and New Jersey during both the day and evening hours have been scheduled as follows and will be advertised in local newspapers and promoted via social media channels:

DATELOCATIONADDRESS
Hearing #1July 16, 8:00 am4 WTC150 Greenwich St, 23rd Floor, New York, NY 10007
Hearing #2July 17, 8:00 am2 Montgomery2 Montgomery St, 3rd Floor, Jersey City, NJ 07302
Hearing #3July 18, 7:00 pmEWR Terminal One Redevelopment Outreach Office79 West Jersey St, Elizabeth, NJ 07202
Hearing #4July 22, 7:00 pm College of Staten Island2800 Victory Blvd, Williamson Theatre, Staten Island, NY 10314
Hearing #5July 29, 7:00 pmHilton Hasbrouck Heights650 Terrace Ave, Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604
Hearing #6July 30, 7:00 pmJFK AirportSouth Service Road – Administration Building #14, 2nd Floor, Jamaica, NY 11430

Written comments on the proposed actions may be submitted via the Port Authority website through the end of the public comment period on September 13, 2019.

Contact:
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
212-435-7777

Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where the 1,776-foot-tall One World Trade Center is now the tallest skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the State of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency raises the necessary funds for the improvement, construction or acquisition of its facilities primarily on its own credit. For more information, please visit http://www.panynj.gov.


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