The misguided toll hikes proposed by the Port Authority havesent a shock wave through New York City residents since beingannounced earlier this summer.While governmental agencies and authorities certainly have beenhard hit by budget cuts, the idea of steeply raising the amount itcosts drivers to use the region’s infrastructure couldn’t have comeat a worse time.Residents and businesses in Brooklyn and around the tri-state areaare struggling to make a go of it in a straitened economy, makingit even more difficult to pay more every time they take a bridge ortunnel.Even the latest plan, fueled by the efforts of New York GovernorAndrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and passed onAugust 19 by the Port Authority board, is too much for many people,who are already hurting. E-Z Pass users will still have to absorban increase of $1.50 each time they used a Port Authority crossingduring peak hours, and cash payers will have to pay a $2 surchargeeach time they use a crossing beginning September 8.And, that wouldn’t be the end of it – through 2015, tolls will riseby 75 cents a year.While the Verrazano Narrows Bridge is under MTA Bridges and Tunnelsand is therefore not affected by the Port Authority increase, usersof that span also often use a Port Authority crossing to continuetheir journey. Higher tolls will likely mean that area residentswho kick off trips via the Verrazano will curtail short journeysrather than dig more deeply into their pockets, and that cannot begood for the economy anywhere in the region.And the toll increase is also likely to be a double whammy forlocal consumers, because businesses will undoubtedly pass alongtheir increased expenses-and that will also impact residents whohave to pay higher prices or do without.In our view, that’s not the way to close a budget gap, and it’scertainly not the way to increase prosperity.
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