Bill S668-2013

Relates to the imposition of tolls for certain bridges and tunnels

Relates to the imposition of tolls for certain bridges and tunnels.

Details

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  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO CORPORATIONS, AUTHORITIES AND COMMISSIONS
  • Jan 9, 2013: REFERRED TO CORPORATIONS, AUTHORITIES AND COMMISSIONS

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S668

TITLE OF BILL:

An act to amend chapter 154 of the laws of 1921 relating to the port of New York authority, in relation to the imposition of tolls for certain bridges and tunnels

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:

This legislation amends the Public Authorities Law by prohibiting an increase in the toll charge and fares on all bridges, tunnels and transit authorities operated by the Authority unless the increases are utilized for transportation related programs and improvements.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 of the bill amends chapter 154 of the laws of 1921 relating to the port of New York authority, by adding a new section 1-a which states that no toll may be increased over an authority bridge or tunnel after December 1, 2014, unless the increase is utilized solely for the improvement, reconstruction or maintenance of the authority's transportation relation facilities.

Section 2 provides that the act will take effect upon the enactment into law by the state of New Jersey of legislation having an identical effect with this act, but if the state of New Jersey has already enacted such legislation, this at shall take effect immediately.

JUSTIFICATION:

On August 19, 2011, the Port Authority Board of Commissioners, with the approval of the Governors of New York and New Jersey adopted a toll increase of $1.50 in September 2011 and 75 cents per year, every year thereafter, from 2012-2015 for E-ZPass holders. An additional $2 penalty on top of increased tolls was implemented for cash toll payers.

These toll increases will bring the rush-hour cash tolls to $15 by 2015. While the Authority failed to publicly disclose a detailed Capital Expenditure Plan, it has issued press releases stating that substantial toll increases are needed because of its escalating real estate development expenses at the World Trade Center.

These unprecedented toll hikes, and diversion of toll revenue to non-transportation projects come at a time when our region's roads and bridges are deteriorating. In fact, every bridge owned and operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is rated as "functionally obsolete" by the Federal Highway Administration.

Accordingly, this legislation intends to ensure that tolls on the busiest interstate facilities in the Northeast corridor are not diverted to unrelated and speculative real estate projects. Indeed, the federal Bridge Act requires bridge tolls to be "just and

reasonable" (33 U.S.C. §508) and the federal courts have consistently interpreted that to require that increases to interstate tolls be used only for facilities that have functional relationships to those bridges. See Automobile Club of New York, Inc. v Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 887 F.2d 417 (2d Cir. 1989).

Consequently, this legislation, by codifying the 1989 decision of the Federal Court of Appeals, will ensure that the Authority maintains its core mission of reconstructing and improving critical infrastructure rather than forcing travelers using interstate bridges and tunnels to pay exorbitant and unreasonable toll rates to subsidize costly and speculative office redevelopment projects.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

2011-12: S.6011

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:

To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

This act will take effect upon the enactment into law by the state of New Jersey of legislation having an identical effect with this act, but if the state of New Jersey has already enacted such legislation, this act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 668 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. AVELLA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Corporations, Authorities and Commissions AN ACT to amend chapter 154 of the laws of 1921 relating to the port of New York authority, in relation to the imposition of tolls for certain bridges and tunnels THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Chapter 154 of the laws of 1921 relating to the port of New York authority is amended by adding a new section 1-a to to read as follows: S 1-A. BRIDGE CROSSINGS AND TUNNELS. NO TOLL CHARGED BY THE AUTHORITY FOR CROSSINGS OVER AN AUTHORITY BRIDGE OR AN AUTHORITY TUNNEL SHALL BE INCREASED ON OR AFTER DECEMBER FIRST, TWO THOUSAND FOURTEEN, PROVIDED, THAT NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO PROHIBIT OR OTHERWISE LIMIT THE AUTHORITY FROM IMPOSING A TOLL INCREASE FOR CROSSINGS OVER AN AUTHORITY BRIDGE OR AN AUTHORITY TUNNEL, PROVIDED, THAT SUCH TOLL INCREASE IS UTILIZED SOLELY FOR THE IMPROVEMENT, RECONSTRUCTION OR MAIN- TENANCE OF THE AUTHORITY'S TRANSPORTATION RELATED FACILITIES. S 2. This act shall take effect upon the enactment into law by the state of New Jersey of legislation having an identical effect with this act, but if the state of New Jersey shall have already enacted such legislation, this act shall take effect immediately; and the chairman of the port authority of New York and New Jersey shall notify the legisla- tive bill drafting commission upon the occurrence of such enactment in order that the commission may maintain an accurate and timely effective data base of the official text of the laws of the state of New York in furtherance of effecting the provisions of section 44 of the legislative law and section 70-b of the public officers law.

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