AAA New York and North Jersey groups urged the Port Authority to revert back to prior tolls, which increased on September 18th from $40 to $65 for 5-axle trucks paying in cash and $50 for E-Z pass users.
According to AAA, the “toll increases are being illegally used to subsidize the rebuilding of the World Trade Center” (http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-09-27/aaa-sues-port-authority-to-reverse-new-york-toll-increase.html). For that reason, AAA explains that the Port Authority is in violation of the Federal Highway Act of 1987 and the Commerce Clause which state that the tolls must be “just and reasonable and invested in transportation,” an article in Business Week states.
On top of that, the Port Authority has ignored AAA’s request for a plan that explains what the money from the increased toll rates would be used for, NorthJersey.com notes.
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, however, considers AAA’s argument to be “without merit.”
Even before the increase, New York was known to have high tolls and with 90% of NYC inbound freight relying on trucks as its means of transport, the price of goods and service is expected to get costly.
For example, APL Limited, which is responsible for 37% of the New York Container Terminal’s business, has decided not to renew its lease, stating toll hikes as a reason (http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2011/08/new_york_container_terminal_lo.html).
Likewise, higher tolls will affect trucking companies as well, as many will not be able to compete with increasing tolls, causing some of them to go out of business or cut back on their service areas, leading to tighter capacity issues.
Shippers delivering into or out of these areas will, in return, experience higher transportation costs to account for these toll increases.
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What do think of the AAA’s decision to sue the Port Authority? Do you feel that what the Port Authority is doing is illegal or do you agree that the AAA’s argument is “without merit?” List your comments below!