FORT LEE, N.J. (PIX11)—In something of a change from earlier statements, new comments from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie indicate that as early as next month commuters are likely to pay more to drive on the bridges or tunnels between the Garden State and the Empire State. They are also likely to have to fork over more money to ride the trains connecting New York and New Jersey.
The increase would not be as significant as a proposal currently on the table from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency that controls the interstate crossings, but it would be an increase nonetheless.
At an event Thursday promoting Jersey Shore tourism, Gov. Christie said that it was "unlikely" he would support a proposal to sharply increase bridge and tunnel tolls as well as PATH Train fares.
During the remarks, however, the governor said that he would not rule out smaller toll and fare increases in order to pay for Port Authority infrastructure improvements.
The current Port Authority proposal calls for cash tolls on the George Washington, Goethals, Outerbridge Crossing and Bayonne Bridges as well as the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels to rise from $8.00 to $15.00 cash payment, and to increase from $6 to $10 when paid with E-Z Pass.
PATH Train fares would rise from $1.75 per trip to $2.75 . Monthly PATH Train passes would increase from $54.00 to $89.00. Under the proposal, all tolls and fares would increase again in 2014.
Regarding the proposal, New York governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday called it "a non-starter," but never said that he would oppose some sort of increase in tolls and fares.
Until days ago, both governors denied even knowing about a toll and fare hike proposal, even though they personally appoint all of the Port Authority's commissioners.
Those commissioners will vote on a toll and fare hike proposal on Friday, August 19th. Three days prior, they will hold public hearings at nine different locations in New Jersey and New York.
In its proposal, The Port Authority has said it needs the additional $1 billion in revenue that the toll and fare hike would add to its coffers in order to pay for major capital projects like the completion of the World Trade Center site, elevating the Bayonne Bridge and replacing the Goethals Bridge.