The Tolls Are Too Damn High: Public Sounds Off at Port Authority Hearings

| August 16, 2011 6:00 AM | Updated: August 18, 2011 06:22 PM video

The Bayonne Bridge connects Staten Island to New Jersey. If the Port Authority toll increases happen, the fee for those paying in cash to cross the bridge will jump to $15. Flickr/ H.L.I.T.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will support a toll hike, but one that is substantially less than originally proposed by the Port Authority, reported ABC News. ABC reported that the governors will support a toll increase of $1.50 at peak hours, and a 25 cent increase on PATH fares.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s original plan included a toll hike on bridges and tunnels into and out of Manhattan by at least 50 percent, along with increases to PATH fares. While both governors agree that there will be some kind of increase, it will most likely be much smaller than the Port Authority’s initial proposal.

On Wednesday, New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released an audit showing that Port Authority paid a whopping $85.7 million in overtime to its employees last year.

“Before the Port Authority asks for more money to fund its operations, the agency should take a long, hard look at whether its business model for managing overtime really makes sense,” said DiNapoli in a written statement.

On Tuesday, transit-minded Tri-State residents on both sides of the Hudson flocked to nine public hearings about the unprecedented fare increases proposed by the Port Authority.

As anticipated, the public hearings were, in polite terms, tumultuous. A meeting on Staten Island Tuesday morning nearly came to blows, as labor unions packed half of the room with members sporting orange shirts, according to the Staten Island Advance. Union members demanded job creation, which the toll hikes would support, and accused toll hike opponents of being unpatriotic (the building of the new World Trade Center site is a Port Authority project).

Staten Island resident Andy Scudera yelled back: “You guys want jobs? Fine. Go get them somewhere else. Not off my back,” the Advance reported.

A public hearing in Jersey City didn’t go any more smoothly, where a similar scene played out, according to the Star-Ledger.

The Port Authority proposed toll hikes on Aug. 5 of 50 percent or more on bridges and tunnels into and out of Manhattan. PATH fares would also increase by $1.

The Port Authority says the fare increases are necessary because of decreases in revenue as a result of the recession, increases to security costs since 9/11, the cost of building the new World Trade Center site and a slew of other vital infrastructure projects, according to a statement from Port Authority President Chris Ward.

The general public was not happy with the proposed solution to the Authority’s financial woes.

NJ.com user FreeAllPeople referred to the proposed hikes as “Tolljacking,” while user V. Markova wrote, “the system is what is messed up. Both Parties (the Democrats and Republicans), have used all of us for individual gain. Hell, a pox on both their houses.”

Johnnypaz15 restrained himself, writing on silive.com, “The things i’d LIKE to say—cant be posted here [sic].” User B4daBridge wrote, ”$35.00 to visit mom???…have the PA no heart?”

A commenter on Crain’s New York wrote, “The tolls are too damn high already!”

WATCH VIDEO:

NJToday looks at the Port Authority toll hikes. As the video shows, yesterday’s public hearings were fraught with strong opinions.

While the consensus among commuters is that paying twice as much to go to work in a weak economy is really frustrating (and other choice terms in the ilk of those above), there are more specific concerns being expressed pertaining to particular regions, as well as various theories about why the Port Authority suddenly proposed the fare hikes.

  • On Aug. 8, protesters in Jersey City complained that the hikes will force them to adopt extreme commuting patterns, like squeezing six passengers into a car, to maintain their standard of living, reported the Star-Ledger.
  • On Staten Island, many commuters who take daily trips across the Goethels Bridge, Bayonne Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing feel that it’s unfair for them to bear the burden of a 50 percent toll increase, since the borough benefits from a relatively small number of Port Authority projects. “Ridiculous” has been the operative word among residents, according to the Staten Island Advance.
    If I lived in New York I would be outraged at what they would be doing to the cost of my bread, butter, milk.
    —Gail Toth, executive director of the New Jersey Motor Truck Association

      Since the hike would allow the Port Authority to pursue many new projects, labor groups who stand to profit from job growth have been on a public relations spree advocating for the hikes since the proposal was announced, reported the Star-Ledger. The hikes will produce an estimated 167,000 jobs over the next decade, improve shipping and transportation operations and award contracts to the tune of billions of dollars.

      But the surge in PR documents being sent out has raised a considerable red flag for some groups. Opponents told the Star-Ledger:

      • “What an orchestrated move!” said Gail Toth, executive director of the New Jersey Motor Truck Association. “Doesn’t it just seem kind of odd that there’s seven days notice, there are going to be these hearings all on the same day, and they’re going to gather all that input, and two days later they’re going to vote on it?”
      • Others are angered that the Port Authority, a public agency, is using its press power to support the positions of for-profit labor groups. “If I called them [Port Authority] and said I was opposed to the toll hike, would they issue a press release for me?” said Steve Carellas, a New Jersey coordinator for the National Motorists Association. “I’ve complained about their processes before in the past, but this is the worst. It just doesn’t make you feel good about them.”
      • Finally, many believe that the locations that the Post Authority chose to conduct the public hearings are intentionally inconvenient for most residents to get to at the times allotted.

      Construction on One World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. The expensive rebuilding of the World Trade Center site is cited as a major factor in the Port Authority's decision to raise toll costs. Flickr/Emilydickensonridesabmx.

        Beyond the immediate outrage over what amounts to a heightened cost of living for millions of commuters and allegedly unfair, perhaps unwise fiscal decision-making, the Wall Street Journal and City Hall News have introduced two alternative, not necessarily exclusive theories about the underlying causes of the toll hike.

        • City Hall News suggested that the Port Authority hike may be designed, in part, to lay the groundwork for congestion pricing in New York City. For years, the financially strapped MTA has discussed introducing fares on bridges that span the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn and Queens — a move which would not go over well with New York City voters. The theory is that instead of imposing large tolls on all the bridges within New York City, the Port Authority hikes would allow the MTA to quietly impose small inter-city tolls on only a few bridges, in order to preemptively lessen the outrage by city residents.
        • The Wall Street Journal reported that Moody’s Investor Services assigned a negative outlook to the Port Authority’s credit in January, claiming that a credit downgrade would likely occur if the agency continued to spend beyond its means. A credit downgrade could add millions of dollars to the agency’s borrowing costs, and the hike may largely be an attempt by Port Authority to avoid those expenses. The Port Authority frequently borrows large sums to fund its infrastructure projects, like the new World Trade Center site.

        “The World Trade Center clearly has been like this albatross,” E.J. McMahon, a senior fellow at the conservative-leaning Manhattan Institute, told the Wall Street Journal. “That’s driven as much by the politics imposed on the site as it is by the Port Authority itself.”

        As voters show up at sites across New York and New Jersey to voice their opinions tomorrow, it’s uncertain whether their voices will be heard. Christie and Cuomo may veto the hikes or force them to be cut significantly, as political insiders have implied.

        What is known is that the transit system both into and within New York City is rapidly aging, and that Port Authority is no longer the economic engine that it was before the recession.

        The Port Authority’s board will vote on the toll hikes on Aug. 19.

        • max beer

          unions will destroy america…………their pensions are ponzi schemes that no society can support………..a union worker has no reason to work hard he cannot be fired……now thet dont want to contribute to their own health care.. so we have to not them…they now decide that a company is making too much money???????

          • Chris

            It is a sad state of affairs that this statement is correct. Unions are destroyimng us. $13 for a bridge is way to much already. Stop making money off of my back.

          • Shlomaster

            you are 100% right. unions are the reason for subway hikes, tolls and so on. after 20 years of work they get paid a salary for life, of course the unions will run out of money, and we will have to pay for it. for any union worker this is the greatest job opportunity ever.

          • Big “O” NJ

            Since when do we have to obey “Union of Socialist Workers” aka Unions! No surprise things came to blows at several meetings. That’s the way these thugs/animals roll!! The PA and all the crooks can go to HELL with this proposal! They have no clue as to what the world is like outside of PA HQ & Union Halls! They should work on better ways to get people through bridges and tunnels! For all the $$$ we pay, we still need 30/45 minutes to cross!?!?!?!? PA kiss my big Jersey ASSSSSSSS!!!

        • JEFF

          Tolls are for paying off bridge cost not for other projects or budget failures .Disband the Port Authority

          • Maureen

            There you have it! The undeniable TRUTH!! I’m with you. How can ANYONE in this economy vote for an increase in ANYTHING??? It’s ludicrous. And that’s being nice.

        • Non-Union-Private-Sector Real Worker

          Has anything good ever come out of Staten Island? None that I can think of. Most of the cast of Jersey Shore is from there (that tells you something right there), all the women think they’re all that (they only date guys who look like the Situation), even people who are not Italian act like they are (which is really annoying), there are more landfills than friendly people (even more than NJ), these folks keep over-populating NJ and always bring their attitudes with them, Vinny, Sal and Louie still live at home with their mommy and daddy…and they go fist pumpin’ at D’Jais with their girlfriends Vicki, Lisa and Nicole. The mayor of Belmar was so right on when he made his “insensitive comments” to the good folks of S.I. He should’ve never apologized to them.

          • Billy

            To the dude about Staten Island you are a moron. Staten Island has all types of people you clown. I mean way to go off topic blockhead. Go back to your dirty water and smelly town. Newsflash the SI dump closed 10 years ago

            Back to topic to to say the toll hike is going to create jobs well of course it will create more jobs, more jobs that the PA won’t be able to pay for in two or three years. More jobs that will get farmed out to contractors who will under bid then go over-budget by %1000. More jobs off the backs of the toll’s. The real reason they need to hike the tolls is because they are over 2 billion in the hole for the project downtown. They need to get money from somewhere. Heck if the PA said it was a temporary measure for two years maybe people would have respect for it.

            For sure both Governors are going to make believe they are gonna do something. The toll hike will only be half now then in about a year and a half they will get the other half in.

            Maybe the real problem is the people running the PA projects have no clue. It’s time to put people in place that can get the jobs done, on time and in line with budgets. People with experience managing big projects like Trump or someone along those lines

          • Jose

            I don’t know where you get your info from, but you sound like a ignorant idiot. Alot of people on SI don’t act like that. It’s just when you have a few peolple who do they tend to stick out. Just to bring you up to speed not everyone from the jersey shore is from new york and trust me the only thing jersey has is a casino and a highway that leads to the south.

        • Jim

          The Hike is for less jobs, They want to update EZPASS lanes to bill plates getrid of collectors all together. Idiots at Union

        • AL

          What are we paying the money for??? To subsidize scums on both side of Hudson? This is still bad economy out-there, so shut your mouth a little and lower your appetites. We, the Hard Working people have no extra money to burn, for the useless UNION BUMS in both states. GREEDY USELESS PIGS!!!!!

        • AABrooklyn

          This is only the beginning, and it’s going to get a lot worse. Look at how much money is wasted on the United States military empire and military industrial complex, all of the tax dollars an resources wasted on these lies are money and resources that could have been used to great benefit domestically for infrastructure, education, healthcare, etc etc etc

        • Tom

          Hey folks, if ya want this issue to the be the reigning issue of the day, not to mention the spilling-over into EVERY product, service, road, (ad nauseum)…vote for Obama and the democrats in 2012. The unions, and their thug masters, will rule the day should Obama get reelected. Of course everyone knows that the unions, and their thug masters, are SQUARELY in the pockets of the democrats. This should be a warning and a wakeup call for 2012. REMEBER THIS!!!!

          • Tom J.

            The word is “rue”….”rue the day”….not “rule”.

          • tom d

            for u ppl that are sitting there still trying to turn this into a democrat republican thing ur retarded! this is the problem with this country, the ppl who vote are to stupid!!!! ppl are either so hardcore republican or democrat they dont even realize that neither of them work fort he best of the country! not one politician cares whats good for everybody else its all bout who pays them off the most!wake up and realize both democrat and republican are corrupt u idiots! second for all u ppl that sit there and cry about unions, just because u work for private rich ppl and u r their slaves cause the make u suckers do more and more fr less and less just so they can put more in their own pocket thats ur damn problem!!!!!all u privates who are absolute cowards keep doing what your master tells u see what happens. soon you will all be workin for minimum wage!!!! and last but certainly not least “private-sector real worker” just cause the women on staten island are ridiculously hot and they wont even look at u cuz ur pathetic dont ramble on this page about s.i women. damn u look pathetic ripping ppl when u dont even have the courage to put ur name! stick with ur jersey girls loser

        • Arnold

          Public Unions are crooks. Their members should be paying their own health care costs, and they should fund their own pensions like the rest of us non-union workers. The mob mentality has to end. Public unions must be put down. Three cheers for the governors of Wisconsin and Ohio, who stood up to them, unlike Cuomo who continues to coddle unions at the expense of tax payers.

        • John T. Keating

          If the unions are so good why are they going on strike at the TRADE CENTER. Just looking for more money and less hours, the rest of us are out of work and paying the toll hikes to look for work. The Pres gave the construction workers Shovel Ready Jobs How About The Rest Of US.

        • Tom

          “Union members demanded job creation, which the toll hikes would support, and accused toll hike opponents of being unpatriotic”
          That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Union members want more jobs? My question is don’t they already have a job when they’re in the union? Here’s my take. They want more jobs for newer hires so that they can sit their lazy azzes more during their shifts & collect more overtime. These people are so damm evil, greedy & lazy pigs. The country is in what it’s now is because of this system doing its damages over many many years. And when they don’t get what what they want, they start calling people unpatriotic?? HELLO…………DON”T BRING THIS UNPATRIOTIC BULL**** INTO THE DISCUSSION. Folks already have a hard time making ends meet and now you want to rob them more through the so called “hearings”???

        • steve

          Brainwashed, uneducated union losers. How long must we be held hostage by these dopes. They have clearly outlived their usefulness and lined their pockets with bs overtime pay while they sit in bars down by ground zero and drink then get in their cars and drive home. They get away with it because of union cops and the ‘brotherhood’. The PA bused this idiots in and probably paid them to be at the meetings. The workers really think thay the toll increase will provide 160-170K jobs? hilarious! They are so brainwashed by the very people that are lining their pockets with money that should be going to them.

        • Mario

          Unions should be abolished. Toll collectors are not as needed as they once were with the advent of the Ezpass. All the toll hikes go to fund the salary of the toll collectors and they should be taking pay cuts and reductions in the medical benefits.

        • Tom

          The unions greed is pathetic and neverending.

          • Thomas Jefferson

            yea and….

        • daniel K.

          The members of public unions and President Obama need to remember or learn that:
          “They work for us, we…. do not work for them!”. That is what Howard Huges so plainly told Congress after he spent millions developing airplanes for the war effort in WWII, and Congress had the temerity to investigate him. When he spent his money not the public’s. Most Senators and politicians are no different than the corrupt one depicited in the movie: “The Godfather”. Remember the only people with “ENTITLEMNTS” are Congressmen, Senators and President Obama ..who get their full salary for life, even if we throw them out of office after they only serve “one term”. They also get FREE HEALTH CARE FOR LIFE… AND ARE EXEMPTED FROM OBAMACARE!!!!!

          • Thomas Jefferson

            nikka please, no one works for you. you need a kick to the skull.
            thats the problem with you ignorant losers. you think public sector is here for you,

            shut the fakkkk uppppp. hope someone pushes you in front of the next train !

        • ROB

          I WAS IN A SO CALLED UNION ONCE,I FINALLY GOT SMART AN QUIT.ALL THEY WON’T IS UNION DUES.I SAT HOME AN WOOD TICKS FROM N.C. WORKED.IAM I WRIGHT SAL.

          • Thomas Jefferson

            bet you miss those days…..

        • Non-Union-Private-Sector Real Worker

          And apparently people who are in unions cannot punctuate correctly either. Rob, all capitals usually means you’re yelling, dude. Also, learn how to spell.

          • Thomas Jefferson

            your name should just be SKELL.
            it would be easier to type then non-union-private loser…

        • James Salvatore

          There you go. The unions only care about their own, even at the expense of everyone else. That’s the real reason there is so much anti-union hype from the people and in the government now. They would prefer everyone else that has to commute suffer, so that a few more of them can have jobs. There is no doubt that the unions were needed to protect workers when they were created, but the situation has reversed and businesses (and the general public) need to be protected from the union.

          • Thomas Jefferson

            yes they do care for their own. thats why we pay union dues, you loser. so they look out for OUR INTEREST. NOT YOURS !!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

            • Maureen

              People like you are the reason this country is so far down the toilet. These are bad times you greedy #$*&@^@!!! Be patriotic and shut up. O and, how about taking a 1% or 1% pay cut, and get this – you would GET TO KEEP YOUR JOB! I hope you soon find yourself in the position of so many millions of Americans right now. Jobless, a few kids and living on the street, then come back and say you want your &*#%@_ to help you. Let’s see how fast they turn you down. !!!!!!!

        • Phillip

          Disgusting is all I could say about the MTA and the Union. If they really want to help and perserve jobs why don’t the union give back same for the MTA. Do we really need to pay a toll clerk $50,000.00 and up to collect tolls. Greed..

          • Thomas Jefferson

            dont ride the bridges or use any mta transportation.

            get on your bike or walk you SKELL.

            • Bill

              “get on your bike or walk” – thats exactly what a lot of people are doing. Which is exaclty why the revenues are falling. And the union’s solution? Hike it more under the assumption it would increase revenue. When it acutally falls, hike it even more. Keep hiking it into bankruptcy.

        • jagriv

          These people needs to be replaced plain and simple, raising tolls with the economy in it’s current state will be counterproductive in the long term as people look for alternatives. The MTA should contract the operation to the Chinese or Japanese.

          • Thomas Jefferson

            you need to be slaughtered.

        • harold thomas

          WHAT ARE WE PAYING FOR????WHAT ARE WE PAYING FOR:::::????????WHY ARE WE BEING HIJACKED AND ROBBED ???????this is highway robbery”””””why do hard working people have to suffer????salaries have not risen one penny in so many years;; the tolls have risen so many times in the past couple years;;; all we hard working people do is ;; WORK :WORK:WORK: and ;PAY : PAY PAY;;;when will this madness cease???? just to pass over a bridge or pass through a tunnel;; we have to be robbed all the time????WHY???????this HURTS;;;;as an every day commuter;; i have no clue what i would do;; i might have to resign from my job;;; i cant buy gas and pay this toll ;;;;im tired of paying for others;;; people living ;HIGH off my back;;;;

          • Thomas Jefferson

            you dont like it, then leave you turd.

            • frankie

              Dear Mr. Jefferson,

              Would you please stop spamming this comment board with you out of control replies? We got you point of view.

            • ben

              WE WON’T LEAVE WITHOUT A FIGHT!!

              We’re not going to run away from our homes because you mafiosos think you control us.

              I thought we made organized crime illegal a long time ago.

        • Paul Wolfson

          The Port Authority is the most corrupt institution and before they think of increasing, they should be audited by an independent firm. Also, all Port Authority employees should be required to also pay the toll and they should not be given any discounts.

          • Thomas Jefferson

            heres a hanky to wipe away your tears

        • G qin

          Replace all unions workers…..
          They don’t want to work.. replace them.

          • Thomas Jefferson

            die

            • TRUTH

              TJ is a TROLL, folks….Open your eyes!

        • Dent

          The unions have too much power in this country. I’ve been told by friends who had contracts at the new WTC that only a fraction of the workers present there actually do any work. You’ll see them laying around, smoking, chatting and drinking coffee. This wouldn’t be possible if they weren’t union workers. It is time for the unions to lose some of their power!

          • Thomas Jefferson

            drop dead

            • Smitty

              Unions should be treated the same as corporations under Antitrust laws. Unions are run by thugs and hoodlums and union employees are lazy and greedy. They destroyed the railroad and auto businesses and will do the same to every other business.

        • Thomas Jefferson

          All of you who bash the unions and the toll hikes and the MTA farehikes are just
          LOSERS.

          you dont deserve the right to live in nyc, you should all move to the third world country where you belong.

          All you do is hate on the unions, hate on the MTA, its a business you retards.
          Just because your a loser and you failed at life doesnt give you anything to piss on someone who has it.

          you are all pathetic pieces of feces and you need to realize how much of a bottom dweller you truly are.

          keep renting losers, keep crying and whining about the toll and mta hikes.

          maybe if you stop crying and got yourself a REAL JOB with REAL BENEFITS, REAL HEALTH COVERAGE, REAL PENSION, REAL 401k REAL 457 PLAN, then maybe you too wont complain.

          til then you are all losers who just sit here day in and day out complaining about your loser lifestyles.

          if this was 1934 , Adolf would have thrown you all into zee meeet grinder for being unproductive germans.

          you are the true burden on the economy, not the union members, not the city workers, its you. the losers who dont even make any real money.

          you are worthless to us all, and i hope you all die horrific deaths.

          Now im off to work at my REAL JOB, with NIGHT DIFFERENTIAL. CYA LOSERS !!!

          • Dent

            Here we have a union leech afraid of what would happen if the people of these country would find out how corrupt these institutions are, especially in the North. For example the same grade carpenter working for exactly the same union is paid around $80/h in NY, while in Arizona is lucky if he can get $25/h. I know life is more expensive in NY, but not that much more.
            So, you leech go back of sucking the blood of the taxpayers and maybe do a little work to show for it instead of hurling insults here. And while you’re at it, Kiss my a**, too!!

          • Billy

            I make a ton of money. Been making at least 6 figures since for the last 15 years. Proud to be a non-union member. Absolutely don’t have to worry about jobs because I will always be able to find and get one on my own. When you are on breaks I’m working perfecting my craft. When you are getting overtime and still complaining I get a fat bonus all at once just for doing a great job.

            Don’t have to pay dues to some fat slob union delegates, don’t have to ever go on strike, don’t have to attend a strike and blow whistles all day begging for benefits, don’t have to attend mandatory meetings. I would say roughly 9 out of 10 union workers don’t have a college degree. I would say 2 out of every 10 did not graduate H.S. and 4 out of 10 have GED’s. Looking over all of your ignorant comments I would say you probable fall into a different bracket which is %.01 of union workers which didn’t get past the 5th grade.

          • joe

            And kiss my rear end too. Blood sucker. Well actually, money sucker to be exact.

          • Smitty

            If this were 1934 you’d be in a concentration camp. Hitler outlawed unions and killed their leaders. Smarten up, dummy!

          • Maureen

            Grow up moron!

        • doug

          Walmart/Target/Sears/________(fill in the blank) sales(revenue) are down due to the ressession they increase their revenue by offering sales/discounts to drive business to their stores. This seems to work since retail is up. The Port Authority is having the same issues with revenue due to the ressession and they want to increase their prices. Let me put this in prespective for the Port Authroity in something they will understand. If a Big Mac cost $2.50 and now you want to charge $6.50 for it, how will that drive more business your way?

          • Billy

            I would love to look at the real numbers to see if anything is actually down. Would love to see them publish anything regarding ridership numbers or amount of cars and trucks using the bridges and tunnels

        • Thomas Jefferson

          too many losers to comment on. I cant get you all, so for those who i missed. you can all suck my lips. and i dont mean the ones on my mouth either !

        • gary

          as a union guy, this time the union is wrong. the fares rising will not produce any jobs.whoever is telling them this should be kicked out of office. the PA says it need the money to build the world trade center’s other buildings. well, then don’t build them! simple. just like the rest of the country, if you don’t have the money, don’t build

        • Matt

          I HATE UNIONS and what they stand for. i don’;t hate the people that are in Unions JSUT THE CORRUPT UNIONS! I don’t have a PENSION nor job security and i work my ass off.

          • tom d

            so matt let me ask u this? u dont have a pension or job security! wouldnt it be nice if all working americans had that? ya it would but to many ppl are slaves for all these privates and instead of these ppl focusing on how to make their own jobs or lives better everyones to busy complaining about what unions have! ppl need to quit crying! when the economy was doing good and all these wall st ppl were getting bonuses of more then i make in a year was i crying? nope! but now that its the other way around all these losers have to bash unions!!!!!

        • steve

          No Jefferson, its the brainwashed union workers like yourself that are pathetic. Why do you have the time to post comments right now? On furlough? laid off? Out on a fake workmans comp claim? Cut your pinky and trying to milk it for all its worth? Your telling people to die, calling them names, etc. You are the classic, uneducated, brainwashed old school union idiot. See what happens when you miss one of your dues. Loser.

        • Bill

          Here’s an idea – hike the toll rates to $1,000. That would fund all the jobs you need, all the infrastructure you could dream of. We could build a new tunnel under the Atlantic and unemployment would fall to zero.

          A trip from DC to JFK costs $50 in tolls besides gas. Heck, double it, no triple it. Jobs, hurrah!! And when no one can afford it anymore, there’s always bankruptcy. Wipe it out in court and presto, more jobs!!

        • gary

          just remember haters, without the unions you wouldn’t have 40 hr work weeks, vacations, weekends off, holidays…do you honestly think the big business bosses would just give you any of that without the fight the unions fought through the years? if you do, you are living in nazi-republikan dream land

          • paul

            Since way back 20 yrs ago, all i ever heard from guys that work in the unions is that its nothing but a “getover” the drinking, drugging, stealing, etc is what alot of them do during their “work day”. the money these guys get and the constant complaining is ridiculous altogether

          • The Truth

            Unions once had their place in this world. They fought for safe working conditions and fair wages for workers, they helped people get and keep jobs and provided mentoring and teaching for tradesman so that they could improve in their chosen trade or profession. During the Industrial revolution and into recent history they were a force for positive social change.

            At some point this changed. Over time unions became political beyond the mere interests of working folks. They forced through legislation benefiting themselves and harming tax payers, they increased the benefits and salaries of their members to such an extent that businesses started laying them off, outsourcing the labor over seas or simply using machines in the place of union labor. In modern times, they have become self serving and self defeating.

            Recently, the public has realized that government labor unionization has resulted in higher wages, better benefits and lower efficiency than private industry. It has also resulted in the bankruptcy of a huge number of states whose budgets are crippled by a bad economy and union salary and pension spending requirements. The end result is that the public, or at least a growing majority, no longer backs organized labor and is tired of paying ever increasing taxes to fund it.

            The result is also that the states with the highest unionization are also the most in debt, have the highest taxes, and have shrinking populations. This while right to work states grow and get an influx of foreign industry. Look where Toyota, Honda and other car makers have built plants, its not in UAW states. The message here is clear. Unions are now a force for economic stagnation, crippling budget deficits and high unemployment. They protect the few at the expense of the many and they have lost their ability to convincingly claim a moral high ground. Their symbol is the teacher who does not teach, an autoworker working in Walmart because his job was outsourced, and state workers retiring to 6 figure pensions while their state goes bankrupt.

        • Claudio

          minor correction – the Bayonne Bridge connects Staten Island to New Jersey, not Manhattan

        • Bluefish

          Read Today’s Newark Star-Ledger(p3). The U.S. allocated or has spent 1.3 Trillion Dollars on the Afghan and Iraq War up to the year 2011. 9/11 affected all of America and the ones that have to pay is New York and New Jersey Tax payers? Who is going to benefit from rebuilding at the World Trade Center? Corporate America, that’s who, and that is who should pay to rebuild there. If not, let it stay just a memorial place.

          • paul

            excellent point.. i commend you

          • Billy

            Oh stop that money would not have come here anyway, stop trying to get all political. This is about the inability of the PA to run their business. The PA will benefit because they will be making out on the real estate. Bottom line is they need someone to step in and run their business correctly. Trim the fat , offer incentives to contractors to finish the job on time. Things of that nature….

        • paul

          Since way back 20 yrs ago, all i ever heard from guys that work in the unions is that its nothing but a “getover” the drinking, drugging, stealing, etc is what alot of them do during their “work day”. the money these guys get and the constant complaining is ridiculous altogether

        • Harry V.

          I am a union worker and I am NOT in favor of these toll hikes. They will not create jobs. These hikes just fill the pockets of the executives in the MTA. These guys in the orange shirts are the “yes men” of the executives. If they are real regular union workers, then they would be at their job and not be at these meetings.

        • Bill USMC

          I do not hate unions, they can be good and bad for people, but the idea of raising the tolls doesn’t make sense. Trust me if you lower them by 2-3 dollars more people would use the bridges and trains, and you would have the funds to spend on the projects. If the Port Authority would would spend the money on needs vice wants then things would be different.It is so unfortunate that “Greed” plays so much in this problem. If greed was eliminated prices would lower and people wouldn’t be so stressed about alot of issues. We do need unions in this country, but not stupid unions who put there companies in a position that they have to look for cheaper overhead!

          • Billy

            The can’t reign in spending because the union workers suck everyone dry and don’t get the work done. I mean really look into how much longer it takes a union worker to complete a job like on a building as compared to a building in Asia. It’s not in the best interest to finish a job on time because then they will be sitting home preying to get another job.

            For real though I’m not against unions but I think you guys should head out to Asia so you can slow down development in those countries.

            • Bill USMC

              I agree, if you saw I did mention greed was a major reason for all of this. We have so many regulations that Asia does not have, so to compare is alittle unfair. Also remember their culture for the most part takes responsibiliy for there work being done right and they take more pride then “some” of our workers, which is so disheartning. I was lucky enough to do 20 years in the Marines, and pride and honor was paramount, now that I’s a civilian again, I am very dissappointed with what I see.

        • Jon C

          Look at all the union thugs in the photo.

        • MickeyX

          It will cost $12.00 to go over the GWB or use The Holland or Lincoln Tunnels that is insane. Here is a news flash for the Port Authority revenues will fall because fewer people will use the bridges and tunnels. I went to the city all the time when the toll was $2.00. In started tom scale down my trips as the tolls went up.finally when the toll reached $8.00 I stopped going to the city. There isn’t very much that you can only get in NYC any more.

          • Tamany Hall

            Mickey,

            I live less than an hour from Manhattan and stopped visiting on weekends because of the same reasons!

        • Steviebeef

          Any authority that lets toll collectors make $ 200,000/ year needs to be disbanded like YESTERDAY!

        • JEFF GORDON

          Raising tolls is unpatriotic.

        • Sean

          Plain and simple…..start running the tolls.

        • John

          The reason they’re (The MTA, The PA of NJ/NY, etc etc.) capable of doing this (keep hiking tolls & fares) is because this is monopoly. They know people have no other choices when it comes to using public transportations, bridges, tunnels. The thing I’m perplexed about is after all said & done, even after the hearings, they would still be able to go ahead with the fare hikes. What gives here?

        • eacastillo

          unions are so greedy: they already have jobs but do they care about the jobless?
          obviously not cause they keep asking for raises, benefits, etc. will they ever stop?
          the best solution is for the MTA to BE PRIVATIZED.

        • Paul Godnig

          MANY EMPLOYEES OF THE N.Y. N.J. PORT AUTHORITY ARE EARNING A QUARTER OF MILLION DOLLLARS A YEAR ( SALARY & OVERTIME ) THIS = HUGE TOLL INCREASES.

        • thinkeroo1

          Damn…professional looters. non-sense about about public hearing FULL OF DRAMA.

        • John

          Raise the tolls sky high. People are complaining because they’ll have to pack 6 people into a car? Good. Manhattan is infested with idiots who decide to drive into work when there’s a perfectly good public transportation system. Take the train and stop stinking up my city.

          • Etta

            Er, what train??  Did not realize Staten Island had a train directly into Manhattan.  Yes, Staten Island is part of NYC but our travel patterns are definitely NOT like any other part of the city.

        • jimmy

          thugs, thugs thugs, and the spineless wonks running the place who also get paid too much for what they do. all of you insects will be fleeced until you just figure out how to avoid the bridges, subways and toll roads.

        • reena pal

          No wonder the unions are increasingly losing their clout with their hypocrit selfish and narrow corporatist attitudes. They know that most of those who use the bridges are middle and working class people who have to commute to work and cannot affort the hefty rents and apartment prices in Manhattan, but they do not care. Instead of lobbying for hikes they should lobby for higher taxes pn billionnaires and luxury goods consumption! Enough with taxing those who are bareling making it to survive! Sadly, US unions today do not care for the real interest of workers. Just look at the salaries and perks of their leaders!

        • Mary

          I CAN’T AFFORD ALREADY TO GO TO MY DOCTORS IN MANHATTAN. THEY WONDER WHY I CAN’T GO TO THE WTC REGISTRY DOCTORS – TOLL AND GAS! THE BRIDGES AND TUNNELS HAVE LONG BEEN PAID FOR. YOU HAVE EZPASS – SO WHERE ARE ALL THESE TOLL UNION EMPLOYEES WORKING. WHY ARE WE BEING SETUP TO PAID FOR THE TUNNEL PROJECT? THE TWO GOVERNORS KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON! I TELL YOU WANT IF WE BOYCOTT THESE RISES – LETS SEE WHAT HAPPENS DON’T TRAVEL ON WEEKENDS IF NOT NECESSARY – DON’T BUY THE MAGAZINE OR PAPER – CLOSE THE BOARD STRIKE AGAINST THEM — THESE TWO GUYS KNOW THEY WILL NOT GET BACK IN OFFICE. I AM TELLING YOU LETS FIND PEOPLE UNEMPLOYED AND VOTE FOR THEM INTO THE POLITICAL OFFICES. SUBWAYS, BRIDGES AND TOLL ROADS – GIVE THE JOB TO NON UNION PEOPLE THAT HAVE APPLIED FOR THESE JOBS AT LESSER PAY. STRIKE AGAINST ALL OF THEM!

        • Alexis

          In the pic it says the Bayonne Bridge connects S.I. with Manhattan, it does not. Unless Bayonne is Manhattan now.

          Idiots. Why fact check to do a story nowadays.

        • Lu

          Less jobs. Purchase of power going down every day. Gas price record high. Our politicians know the situation and condition of common people living here. Why are they quite?
          PA has no business to take our money for any thing other than maintaining bridges. Providing more jobs and downtown projects is the job of city / state / federal. PA Union is acting selfish and greedy. What kind of patiotism is that? that you burden your own people to feed your greed.

        • rb

          It’s all a scam they want a $2 increase so they ask for $4 and settle for what they want. Same sh*t as last time and the public feels they “WON”… what bull. As a semi public agency NO increase should be permitted until All the books are made available to the public. Including cost overruns on major projects. One needs to find out if PA employees get “free” bridge” and tunnel passes.

          If NJ Gov. Christe is so hellbent on curbing and cutting “public employee ” salaries let him start with PA (political) appointees!!!

          Any commuter that can should opt to tele-commute ( an option not aailable to all) so wages would not technically be earned in NYC which would cut the city’s income and Bloomberg could have his DA investigate the Port Authority

          • Jimmy

            I absolutely agree with you. Their books should be completely transparent and open to the public so that we can see who or what project is really bilking us. I recall a few years back they all of a sudden “discovered” 500 million in one of their accounts that the claim was recently discovered.

        • Jimmy

          Unpatriotic?!? Do you know whats unpatriotic? Forcing fellow Americans to pay for your lazy fat ass salary & pension when many have no jobs at all at this point and are struggling. If PA has no money than deal with it and lay off workers, streamline, and adapt. That’s what any private company would do instead of force us to pay for your inefficiencies.

          • idallstar

            exactly, but then they couldnt give out 150k no show jobs like paul mcartney’s girl has

        • Big “O” NJ

          Since when do we have to obey “Union of Socialist Workers” aka Unions! No surprise things came to blows at several meetings. That’s the way these thugs/animals roll!! The PA and all the crooks can go to HELL with this proposal! They have no clue as to what the world is like outside of PA HQ & Union Halls! They should work on better ways to get people through bridges and tunnels! For all the $$$ we pay, we still need 30/45 minutes to cross!?!?!?!? PA kiss my big Jersey ASSSSSSSS!!!

        • US Citizen

          First, the Port Aurthority is a monopoly that should not be allowed to exist.
          I held off getting EZ Pass because it cost toll booth collectors their jobs. After hearing the PA employees support the hikes, I applied for EZ Pass.
          By the way, I am a union employee who does not have a pension plan like you always hear of. My support of my union is only for representation to management.

        • idallstar

          i dont believe either governor, they knew damn well what they were planning to do your the boss and you didnt know what one of your agencies was going to do, baloney and their both acting it out with righteous indignation so they put another tax on us. this was planned by the both of them and then they say they need it for the trade center completion, what a crock of shi/. they could stop this in a second if they wanted to. you know how much your going to be paying for bread and milk now

        • realist

          What an ideal opportunity for NJ Gov. Christe to offer tax benefits for moving jobs to NJ. And cut or cap the salaries of PA political appointees( he won’t do this).

          They could also cut out tolls entirely and save all that salary and benefits money.

        • MF

          in a time when people are strapped, I don’t think raising tolls, taxes and everything else, is the way to go. how much can the people take . .its really time to start and look at how things are run and starting figureing out how to operate more efficiently and stop taking money from people who are all ready struggling.

        • idallstar

          christie for president….NOT

        • Tamany Hall

          With the swoop of a pen in Albany, many of the “Public” employees will one day find that their benefits are gone or severely diminished in a day just like the tolls on the bridges go up in a day and hurt everyone else.

        • bob

          We really should not be building a new World Trade Center anyway. Leave the area the way it is. The folks who perished there would feel better if a new one was not built.

        • Steve the trucker

          How about us truckers (private contractors within agencies) that already pay per axle to cross a bridge. What a car pays, multiply that per axel on a truck. If its 8 dollars for a car, its 40 dollars for a truck right now. If my order pays $200, I pay a helper 80 of that, 40 to tolls, the rest is fuel in the truck, already little or no profit. I already struggle to pay my $11k a year property taxes, where is that money going? Jack these tolls again, and I run in the negative. I deliver hospital equipment….just keep that in the back of your mind…

        • S Mactavish

          yet another reason why I’m leaving this area asap. !!!

        • Alfonso

          cannot believe how easy unions can be manipulated
          like comunist comrades masses…..gross

        • Ray

          I can’t believe what I am reading. First of all I live in SI and it costs a small fortune already to get on and off the Island. I make a decent salary and I am a Hard Working union man. I am not lazy, I have a college degree, and my children have graduated from college with honors. I will be paying college tuition for the rest of my life. I find it hard to get by day to day trying to pay the bills. How much more taxes do we have to pay. Yes these toll hikes are taxes. These taxes will not create more jobs. The Port A needs to control its spending, not raise the tolls. Gas is going through the roof and food cost double what it did two years ago. When is this madness going to stop. I don’t bleed money. Our salaries aren’t going up, our medical is costing more, are 401K is shrinking, our social security which we contribute to will be gone. We need to stand up and fight these taxes if we want to survive. Enough is enough. The middle class working American is being attacked. Wake up people, before we have nothing, not a home, not a car, no food and nothing to look forward to except going to work to pay to survive. The rich are getting richer on our backs.

        • Ray

          By the way, those guys in the orange shirts are just a staged act by the port A

        • Al

          Please go on the Port Authority Website and try to digest the figuers. Anybody with a little business knowledge should understand their projections at different times, real income, real expenses. Looks like PA gets more in rents than tolls. Needed money is for the proposed building, not for our convenient crossing of the mighty Hudson River. Infact they make money as it is now, and if the bridges were the individual businesses, they will be reducing tolls, still make money, still do capital improvements on the “crossings”.So let us say hypothetically, let us disband PA, have individuals maintain the crossings, INDIVIDUAL facilities will be independently profitable. Business minds.. please explore and see if we can REDUCE the tolls. Cut the waste and we can go back to $ 1/ per car TOLLS of yester years !!

        • NJCommuter2001

          WOW! That’s sure surprisng to me. I mean NYS and NJ both have a long history of voting pro-uinon, pro-welfare pro-handout liberal (not necessarily DEM) politicians into office. The residents are proud to be living in the blue states and proud to have our beloved pro-union Obama as President. That’s why 1/3 of the tax revenue of NYC goes to the welfare entitlements. That’s why even with the biggest tax pool among all major cities in the world, NYC is forever stuck in the condition of absolute squalor and dilapidation. For decades, I have been amazed how New Yerkers not care about the squalid living conditions they are in.

          Look at Gv Cuomo. Isn’t he the person who almost single-handdedly created the housing bubble by forcing Fannie and Freddie to issue loans to unqualified borrows for the sake of more “affordable” housing when he was appointed director of HUB under the Clinton iadministration. And we all know what this has led this country to in 2008. Yet, new yorkers still love him and voted him in for Governeor of NYS.

          So what are you whining about now ? Isn’t that what you voted for ? Be a good sport and just swallow the pills you guys created yoursleves at the voting booths over so many years.

        • NJCommuter2001

          As a commuter from NJ who takes NJT daily to go to work, I know this for sure: no matter how much more money we have to cough up to “fund” PA projects, nothing is ever going to change. The money will simply either be diverted to other usage or straight to the pension or payroll funds for the unions (public or private). The fares of NJT have increased dramatically over the past few years and the service is actually becoming much worse with constant delay after delay every day every schedule. You have door problems, equipment problems, overhead wire problems, switch problems, signal problems, track problem day in and day out. I’m not sure where all the money from all the fare hikes went. But judging from the 3rd-world quality service with 4-th world equipment, I am quite certain that not a single penny was actually spent to benefit the commuters.

        • NJCommuter2001

          The union is right when they say the infrastructure of this nature needs to be repared. Actually, it’s in a dire need to be modernzed. However, it’s exactly because of the high labor cost (thans to the unions) and welfare spending that this nation is almost paralyzed to do anything about it now. Our country is over spent, but sadly not on investing and building the nation but on non-wealth producing items (pure consumption). That’s why after all the money spent, this country looks more like a 3rd world nation everywhere !!

          Labor union and welfare, the two biggest killers of jobs and economy in this globalized environment of increased competion for efficientcy. Next time when you vote for a politician for whatever position, make sure you understand where he/she stands on these two most important issues facing our nation. Our future depends on it. None of the other party line craps actally matter.

          • Jimmy

            Another problem with unions is that it is almost impossible to fire union workers that are slacking in the job, not doing their job correctly, or for serious violations that are dangerous or criminal. Union workers know this and that is why they take their time doing their job slowly or carelessly.

            http://www.theblaze.com/stories/union-defends-bus-driver-suspended-for-lap-dance-behind-the-wheel/

            • NJCommuter2001

              Exactly. This is a typical scene at the work site: you ahve one hard-hat man doing
              the wielding, two or three hard-hat men standing and looking while doing nothing. and you ahve another hard-hat man holidng a “slow” sign for traffic. That’s how I remembered
              them remodeling the Metropark train station 2 years ago.

              Also, they often blocked out one of the escalators in Penn Station and spend almost a year
              reparing, all the while commuters streaming out from the trains onto the dangerously crowded plattform with one of the escalators taken out .

              That’s called a union job.

        • billygoat

          NY is a graveyard.

        • billygoat

          Also what is with all this union bashing? Can’t you see that if the stupid republicans didn’t slash funding maybe you idiots wouldn’t have to pay higher tolls? Who do you think covers the costs you economic illiterates! You deserve this and I have no sympathy for you whatsoever. Go complain to Christie.

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