Toll Hikes? ‘You’re Kidding, Right?’
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie best articulated reactions to the Port Authority’s proposed toll and fare hikes when he told reporters: “You’re kidding, right?”
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo mirrored these sentiments when he issued a joint statement with his N.J. counterpart, expressing concern for how the hikes would affect his constituents.
But some politicians are skeptical that Christie and Cuomo were truly unaware of the plan to increase fares. The assumption is that the two governors’ apparent surprise is actually political theatrics designed for them to “save the day” in the eyes of voters.
“Realistically, it wouldn’t have been done without both governors having complete knowledge of what was in place,” Michael Francis, a former chairman of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, told the Star-Ledger. “So, they’re both going to attempt to look like heroes by cutting an outrageous increase in half.”
New Jersey commuters have much at stake. Drivers would see increases of up to $4 on the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln and Holland tunnels. New Jersey PATH train riders would have to pay an additional $1 per ride as soon as next month. An additional round of increases is scheduled for 2014 under the current plan.
The Port Authority will hold public hearings on Aug. 16 in nine different New Jersey locations and vote on the proposed hikes on Aug. 19.
“NJToday” correspondent David Cruz visited Jersey City to speak with commuters and elected officials about how they would be affected.
The Port Authority proposal for steep new bridge and tunnel toll and path fares has drawn sharp reaction throughout the region from elected officials and commuters. NJToday’s David Cruz interviews commuters at the Journal Square PATH station. He also speaks with Jersey City Mayor Jeremiah Healy.