Fare hikes to be aired in Teaneck, Manhattan

18 12 2007

The Port Authority hopes to draw more people to its public hearings in Teaneck and Manhattan today that will address plans to raise tolls on Hudson River crossings from $6 to $8 during peak hours.

The agency also plans to raise PATH fares 50 cents to $2, and off-peak E-ZPass tolls on the bridges and tunnels by $2. Peak hours are 6 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. on weekdays and noon to 8 p.m. on weekends.

The agency’s final 5 p.m. hearings will be held today in the Marriott Teaneck at Glenpointe, 100 Frank W. Burr Blvd.; and the Malcolm X/Betty Shabazz Center, 3940 Broadway, Manhattan.

Port Authority spokesman Marc LaVorgna said the agency advertised in local newspapers and on the Internet, but no more than four people have attended each of the four public hearings.

LaVorgna said the public comment period ends on Dec. 27, and the authority could vote on the fare hikes next month. He said people can also send their comments to the authority via e-mail or the U.S. Postal Service.

“You don’t have to come to the hearing to be heard,” he said.

Under the plan, the 20- or 40-ride PATH card would increase from $1.20 a trip to $1.50 — which, along with the other fare hikes, would help generate an additional $300 million in revenue, PA Executive Director Anthony Shorris has said.

However, drivers in low-emission vehicles that get at least 45 miles to the gallon could qualify for a $4 bridge and tunnel crossing toll, discounted for helping to reduce greenhouse gases, Port Authority officials say.

Port Authority officials say the increases would be fair and equitable and are long overdue because they would pay for a long list of capital projects — such as eventually replacing all tollbooths with electronic toll collection. NorthJersey.com

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