Bill Would Provide Federal Oversight of Toll Increases


 UPDATED:
12/19/2011 11:00:00 AM
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Legislation introduced Friday in both houses of Congress would provide for federal oversight of bridge and tunnel tolls, allowing the U.S. Department of Transportation to determine whether proposed toll increases should be implemented.

The Commuter Protection Act would restore DOT’s authority over bridge and tunnel tolls, which it lost in legislation passed in 1987, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said in a statement announcing his introduction of the measure.

Lautenberg’s bill is in response to recent toll increases planned and partially implemented by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on bridges and tunnels between New York City and New Jersey, he said.

“When it costs $12 to drive your car across a bridge in America, something is wrong,� Lautenberg said in the statement. “While the Port Authority and the two states are struggling to explain why these dramatic hikes were imposed, commuters are suffering.�

Truckers face a toll increase of up to 143% on the Port Authority facilities by 2015.

Rep. Michael Grimm (R), who represents part of New York City, introduced the measure in the House, Lautenberg said.

American Trucking Associations President Bill Graves applauded Rep. Grimm and Sen. Lautenberg for introducing the legislation.

“It is our hope that when this bill becomes law, the U.S. Department of Transportation will put a stop to increases like the one being pushed through in New York City,â€� Graves said in a statement.

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