|For immediate release:
August 5, 2011
Kate Slevin, Veronica Vanterpool
Statement from Kate Slevin, Tri-State Transportation Campaign Executive Director:
Today, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey announced a fare increase of $1 on the PATH line and a toll increase of $4 for EZ Pass and $10 for cash payers on all six of its crossings. This increase is not surprising given the financial pressure put on the Port Authority’s budget by NJ Governor Chris Christie and NY Governor Andrew Cuomo. Instead of finding new and steady revenue streams to pay for growing transportation infrastructure needs in each state, both Governors want to use the Port Authority as a piggy bank.
For several years, the Authority adjusted its budget to reflect difficult economic times. In 2009, the agency scaled down its multi-year capital program by $5 billion. The Port Authority’s executive director, Chris Ward, implemented many internal and project cost efficiencies, even delivering a zero-growth 2011 budget that continued key projects, such as the World Trade Center redevelopment.
Yet, the recent pressures from both New York and New Jersey put the Authority’s finances in a precarious situation. Governor Christie is relying on the Port to contribute $1.8 billion to pay for road and bridge projects that should be paid for by the state’s bankrupt transportation capital program. The Governor canceled one of the country's most worthy transit projects, the ARC commuter rail tunnel, so he could redirect Port Authority's monies for that project to his state's transportation program. Governor Cuomo is banking on $380 million in Port Authority funds to help pay for the remaining three years (2012-2014) of the MTA’s capital program. The MTA has been struggling financially for years in the absence of a sustainable, reliable revenue source such as congestion pricing for the Manhattan core.
PATH transit riders will be especially hard hit with a 57% fare increase. Many have already been hit by NJTransit service cuts and a 22% fare increase in 2010. To soften the impact on transit riders, the Authority should scale back the proposed fare increase.
New Jersey has its hand in the Port Authority’s right pocket, and New York is ready to take from its left. The result is this proposal.
Tri-State Transportation Campaign is a nonprofit transportation policy group dedicated to creating a more balanced, environmentally friendly and equitable transportation system in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey.