A proposed increase in the tolls paid by truckers traveling on bridges and tunnels connecting New York and New Jersey will "devastate" the trucking industry in the region and lead to higher costs for shippers and consumers, the head of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) said today.
In a letter to New York Governor Christopher Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Bill Graves, chairman and CEO of the American Trucking Associations, said the tolls, which are scheduled to increase by 182 percent by 2015, will add a significant burden to the already high cost of operating in the New York/New Jersey area and will dramatically boost the cost of driving trucks along the densely populated U.S. Eastern Seaboard. Graves has asked both governors to veto the proposal.
Should the new formula go into effect as planned, the tolls to haul goods from Baltimore to Manhattan will jump to $209.25 from $114.25, Graves said. The higher toll burden would account for more than half of a carrier's typical operating costs in the corridor, according to Graves.
The proposed new tolls are nearly three times higher than comparable tolls at key bridge crossings nationwide, Graves said.
Under the proposal, approved by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which manages the bi-state bridge and tunnel system, the cost of tolls using an EZPass transponder will rise from $35.00 to $85.00 during off-peak hours, and from $50.00 to $90.00 during peak hours, by 2015. The maximum "cash" toll will rise to $163.00, a 105-percent increase from current levels, according to Graves.
Graves also charged that the increased revenue from the higher tolls will be used to subsidize port authority operations, notably the reconstruction of the World Trade Center, that offer no benefit to those paying the tolls.