AAA wants to block Port Authority toll increases from funding the WTC

September 16, 2011 09:30AM

Travel and automotive agency AAA doesn’t want bridge and tunnel fare hikes to fund the World Trade Center development, the Associated Press reported.

The agency is pleading with the U.S. Department of Transportation to block the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey’s plans to increase toll fees by up to 50 percent on the grounds that they violate a 1987 federal law requiring bridge tolls to be “just and reasonable.”

But the agency wants to block the costly hikes because it feels transportation revenue should be used to improve transportation. It wrote a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and is threatening to sue the Port Authority.

“One of our primary missions is to make sure that any tolls and revenue and any user fees go back into transportation,” said Marta Genovese, vice president of legal affairs for AAA. “But in this case, it’s going into a speculative office development.”

The Port Authority has said the fare increases will fund construction that’s boosting the economy, and repairs to the George Washington Bridge and Lincoln Tunnel. [Crain’s]