Truck tolls at bridges and tunnels linking New Jersey and New York City will more than double over the next five years under an increase approved Friday by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The port authority board approved scaled-back toll increases proposed by Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New Jersey, who appoint members of the bistate board.
Tolls for trucks using E-Z Pass payment tags will rise $2 per axle in September, or $10 for a five-axle vehicle. Tolls will rise an additional $2 per axle each December between 2012 and 2015, resulting in a total increase of $50 per five-axle truck over five years.
Under the toll increase that takes effect next month, trucks paying in cash will pay a penalty of $3 per axle. A five-axle truck using E-Z Pass currently pay a total of $40 during peak hours, $35 during off-peak hours and $27.50 during overnight hours on weekdays. The tolls apply only to eastbound crossings.
Drayage companies will have no choice but to pass the increase to customers, said Jeff Bader, president of the Association of Bi-State Motor Carriers and of Golden Carriers in Hillside, N.J.
“We think it’s terrible,” Bader said. “The timing is horrible, with the economy the way it is. This is going to make the port less competitive.”
Tolls also will rise for automobiles using port authority bridges and tunnels and commuters using the agency’s PATH subway under the Hudson River.
The current $8 toll for cars using E-Z Pass during will rise to $9.50 next month and an additional 75 cents each December through 2015. Motorists paying with cash will pay a $2 penalty. PATH fares, currently $1.75, will rise by 25 cents in each of the next four years.
The port authority said the increases are needed to pay for capital projects including $1 billion to raise the Bayonne Bridge to allow larger container ships to call at Port Newark-Elizabeth; $1.5 billion to replace the Goethals Bridge linking Elizabeth, N.J., and Staten Island; $6 billion to finish the World Trade Center reconstruction and $700 million to replace suspension cables on the 80-year-old George Washington Bridge.