The tolls at the Hudson River Bridges and Tunnels are going up, making it more expensive to drive into New York City from New Jersey. This week, the New York/New Jersey Port Authority gave their blessing to the price increase. Beginning on January 8th, it will be in effect.
The peak hour toll for E-ZPass users will increase from $13.75 to $14.75, and the off-peak rate will rise from $11.75 to $12.75. Those without an E-ZPass will be charged $17 in a mail-in bill. Another item on the list of skyrocketing prices in this era of historically high inflation. Bob Romana of Long Island adds, “For the folks who actually struggle and for truck drivers whose life depends on it, it stings.
” Instead of increasing tolls, Romana said he thought the Port Authority would provide some holiday savings. “All the toll booths were eliminated. When he heard that salaries had been eliminated, he naturally wondered what had become of the money that had been previously set aside.
The increase in the cost of using the Port was agreed by the Port Authority’s board as part of its billion spending plan.
Maintenance, operations, and security are all going to get hefty budget increases, but there are also some one-off initiatives that will benefit from the extra cash. The George Washington Bridge is undergoing a $2 billion restoration project, part of which is the replacement of 592 suspension cables.
At Newark Liberty International Airport, the new Terminal A is nearing completion as part of yet another massive construction project. The Port Authority claims that the increased costs will be neutralized by the decreased traffic caused by cashless tolling on all of the bridges and tunnels.
The executive director of the Port Authority, Richard Cotton, said in a statement, “This budget continues our attempts to recoup from the financial harm done by the pandemic when the quantities handled by Port Authority facilities were devastated.”
However, this may not sit well with truck drivers. Each additional axel on a huge rig costs them one extra dollar. Truck driver George Randall claims the new fee is $5 on top of the $172 he spent the previous time he entered New York City.
“He says, “You’re looking at getting a specific amount each load, and that’s $200 straight off the top – $400 coming back.” He claims that this added expense is why many truck drivers avoid New York City altogether and instead stick to routes that take them as far north as New Jersey.
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By 2023, the Port Authority expects tolls to have generated around $2 billion.