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Response to Laxman (Original post)

Mon Jan 27, 2014, 02:12 PM

4. Here's a good one:

Embattled Port Authority Still Fighting Toll Hike Lawsuit

Mark J. Magyar

While political attention remains riveted on the Bridge-gate scandal that forced the resignation of Gov. Christieís top two lieutenants at the Port Authority, the bistate agency remains embroiled in a lawsuit challenging the legality of its massive multiyear toll hike. At the heart of the suit is the allegation that toll revenue is being illegally diverted from transportation projects to pay for billions of dollars in cost overruns on the World Trade Center project...the Port Authority has been battling to block the release of documents showing its internal deliberations leading up to its controversial September 2011 decision -- jammed through after just one day of hearings -- to raise tolls on the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels; George Washington, Bayonne and Goethals bridges; and the Outerbridge Crossing from $8 then to $13 today and $15 by 2015.


<...>

The Port Authority cited the $11 billion cost of rebuilding the World Trade Center as a major fiscal liability in its 2011 press release announcing its decision to seek a toll increase from $8 to $15 on its six bridges and tunnels. Based on that statement, Genovese said, the AAA expected to win a summary judgment on its lawsuit contending that the Port Authority was illegally diverting toll revenues to non-transportation purposes.

But the Port Authority backed off that tack in its response to the AAA lawsuit, insisting that no toll money would be going to the World Trade Center project. The authority asserted that its interstate transportation network, which includes the money-losing Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) rail line, operates at an overall deficit, even with all toll revenue from the six bridges and tunnels included, and therefore no toll money is being diverted to the World Trade Center...that was before Port Authority officials acknowledged that the cost of the World Trade Center project had ballooned from $11 billion to $15 billion -- a massive increase considering that Christie cancelled the Access to the Regionís Core (ARC) rail passenger tunnel project in 2010 because he feared that cost overruns could hit $3 billion.

<...>

Christie diverted $1.8 billion of the $3 billion the Port Authority originally set aside for the ARC Tunnel to provide some of the matching funds he needed to underwrite a five-year $8 billion Transportation Trust Fund plan without raising gas taxes in 2011.

- more -

http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/14/01/06/embattled-port-authority-still-fighting-toll-hike-lawsuit

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