Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Tolls Too High

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Tolls Too High

Article excerpt

LET'S CUT to the chase: The tolls are too damn high.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey released an audit of its operations on Wednesday. Both Governor Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo demanded accountability and wanted answers after the Port Authority hiked tolls and PATH fares last year. Both governors in a joint statement applauded the report's assessment of the agency.

We're glad neither Christie nor Cuomo are in the theater review business. They would never stop clapping. According to the report, the toll increases were justified. It also praised recent changes in the agency's internal management, improved cost control and more transparency.

We repeat: The tolls are too damn high.

Except for a small percentage of commuters, paying nearly $50 to $60 a week in tolls is a hardship. And the tolls will only get higher. There is no good news on that score. The increased tolls and fares are needed to offset the financial overextension of the Port Authority.

History will show the remarkably bad timing of the agency's leasing of the World Trade Center just weeks before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. It is too late now to question whether a different developer, someone other than Larry Silverstein, who won the lease, would have been able to rebuild the site without Port Authority assistance.

The trade center is a complicated piece of land. In addition to the maze of subway lines, there is the built-in bureaucracy of two states' interests in prime New York City land, and of equal importance, the need to address the catastrophe that occurred on Sept. 11.

We do not see how the Port Authority could have avoided taking over the completion of One World Trade Center. We do realize that all of us should have realized back then that the costs and complications would soar. And we should have questioned the wisdom of creating a great piece of civic architecture for PATH commuters. …

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