Heavy and General Construction Laborers' Local 472 ∙
New Jersey Alliance for Action ∙ New York Building Congress ∙
Plan Smart NJ ∙ Regional Plan Association ∙ Sierra Club ∙
Tri-State Transportation Campaign
For Immediate Release: December 9, 2007
For More Information, Contact:
Neysa Pranger, Regional Plan Association
Phil Beachem, Alliance for Action
Denise Barricklow, PlanSmart NJ
Bud Perrone, NY Building Congress
Jeff Tittel, Sierra Club
ADVOCATES UNITE TO SUPPORT PORT AUTHORITY CAPITAL PLAN
Groups Say Toll Increases are Necessary to Meet Regional Infrastructure Needs
NEWARK – Today, a coalition of transportation, construction and environmental advocacy groups announced support for the Port Authority’s long-term transportation security and capital construction plan. The agency’s proposed plan will invest $650 million a year in security and $29.5 billion over the next ten years for transportation facilities. The groups support the proposed toll increases as a mechanism to pay for the plan and believe the plan makes the investments necessary to revitalize the region’s transportation system-- a system that has been overlooked for far too long according to the groups. The coalition of advocates includes the Regional Plan Association, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, the Sierra Club, the New Jersey Alliance for Action, the Heavy and General Construction Laborers' Local 472, New York Building Congress and Plan Smart NJ.
“It’s never easy to ask commuters to pay more, but the Port Authority has made a strong case that the toll increases are necessary to fund desperately needed projects like a new passenger rail tunnel under the Hudson River and replacement of the PATH fleet. We applaud the agency for its regional leadership in variable and cashless tolling, and expect its initiatives will lead to less congestion and speedier commutes,” said Kate Slevin, executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, an advocacy group working for a more environmentally-sound and equitable regional transportation network.
“The Regional Plan Association strongly supports the Port Authority's proposed toll increases. The revenues generated by these increases will ensure that urgently needed investments in the region's transit infrastructure – including the Trans-Hudson Tunnel (ARC) and significantly improved PATH service – and redevelopment of the World Trade Center site proceed. We do encourage a coordinated fare and toll structure between the City of New York and the tolling agencies of the MTA and Port Authority as congestion pricing is considered. The Port Authority’s planned investments actually come at a good time as better and additional transit services will be needed if congestion pricing is put into place,” said Jeffrey M. Zupan, Senior Fellow for Transportation at the Regional Plan Association.
"The proposed increase in tolls by the Port Authority is an important down payment on the future of our region. These additional funds will help make needed improvements to our infrastructure making our roads safer and our environment cleaner," said Jeff Tittel, executive director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.
“The Port Authority of NY and NJ’s proposed toll and fare increases are vitally important to the economic future of the New York and New Jersey region. The new revenue will permit the agency to invest in critically important and much needed infrastructure projects designed to improve the mobility of local residents and prepare the region for future economic growth. The New Jersey Alliance for Action has been a leading non-partisan voice for infrastructure investment for the past 35 years and we strongly endorse the proposed toll and fare increases,” said Philip K. Beachem, President of New Jersey Alliance for Action.
“I believe a toll adjustment now is the best way for the Port Authority to execute its ambitious 10-year capital plan. The Port Authority's capital plan will significantly improve the region's transportation network and contribute to the revitalization of the local economy. These improvements will not only create jobs for many of the region's contractors and its construction workers but will enhance public safety and improve the ability to move goods and services throughout the tri-state area,” said Lou Giammarino, Business Manager, Heavy and General Construction Laborers' Local 472.
“Transportation plays a key role in economic development,” said Dianne Brake, President of PlanSmart NJ, the state’s oldest and largest land use planning research and advocacy organization. “We support the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s efforts to enhance economic growth, reduce congestion and preserve our natural resources by promoting the safe, efficient and sound movement of goods through the region. There is no question that NJ needs more investment to ensure the safety of the state’s infrastructure, particularly its tunnels and bridges. And improved transit service in NJ is absolutely critical in the fight against global warming, since nearly 40 percent of NJ’s greenhouse gas emissions come from cars, trucks and other vehicles.”
“As a coalition of the design, construction and real estate industry of New York City, the New York Building Congress understands the regional transportation system, and our membership knows the Port Authority has played an enormously important role in the region’s progress over the past 86 years. Its current proposal offers the twin benefits of major capital investment and enhanced use of variable pricing for transportation. The Building Congress is pleased to endorse the updated Capital Plan and the related fare and toll proposal, and we encourage the region’s public and private leadership to urge prompt approval and implementation,” said Richard T. Anderson, President, New York Building Congress.