Friday, April 25, 2014

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Drivers Grumble Over Increased Tolls For Port Authority Bridges, Tunnels

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TWC News: Drivers Grumble Over Increased Tolls For Port Authority Bridges, Tunnels
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Tolls on the Port Authority's bridges and tunnels have increased by a dollar to $13 for drivers who use cash.

For E-ZPass users, the tolls are up 75 cents to $10.25 during peak times and $8.25 at off-peak times.

This affects tolls on the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, Goethals Bridge, Bayonne Bridge and Outerbridge Crossing.

Some truck drivers will find themselves paying as much as $90.

Volunteers in the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts are feeling the pinch as well. On Sunday morning, a group of mothers who came from Wyckoff, N.J. to Midland Beach on Staten Island were surprised to see the increased tolls.

"We didn't even think about the tolls until we looked over the bridge and it said it was $13 to get over here," said Carrie Thompson, one of the volunteers.

"It costs us hundreds of dollars to come over here and help and volunteer, which is unfortunate," said Theresa Rickert, another volunteer.

Some volunteers said the money they are paying in tolls could be better used.

"We just gave over bags of wool socks, when you think about how many wool socks you could buy at Costco for $13," said Kerri Winiarski, another volunteer.

Midland Beach residents who spoke with NY1 agreed, saying having volunteers pay tolls brought insult to injury.

"We really appreciate them coming but I think the tolls are ridiculous," said one resident.

"It is just sad, you know? During these times they're raising the tolls and everything like that. People are volunteering, coming from New Jersey to Staten Island, they got to pay the ridiculous prices to come here and they are trying to do a good thing," said another.

The Port Authority has said it is using the money from the increases to maintain transportation infrastructure and fund capital projects.

The hikes are part of a series of planned increases, including another round of hikes set for next December, unless a lawsuit blocks it.

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