Out-of-State Drivers Should Not Be Singled Out for Higher Toll Charges Than In-State Residents.
Click here to read the press release.
Effective January 1, 2012, New York State joined 41 other states that give law enforcement and roadside workers the margin of safety they need to do their job. The Ambrose-Searles Move Over Act now requires drivers to "move over" for tow trucks, maintenance, and other hazard vehicles. As a way to increase awareness of this new law, AAA New York State is launching their "Slow Down, Move Over, It's the Law" campaign. This campaign emphasizes the following updates to the law:
--The law applies to any stopped emergency response, tow truck or maintenance vehicle with its lights flashing.
--On parkways, interstates and other controlled access highways with multiple lanes, drivers must move from the lane immediately adjacent to the emergency vehicle, unless traffic or other hazards exist to prevent doing so safely.
--On all roads, drivers must reduce speed.
--Violators will be punished with a $150 fine plus a state surcharge of $80-85, and will receive two violation points on their license.
A PDF of the campaign materials can be downloaded as an 11x17 poster or a 4x9 bookmark
Please call (516) 535-2566 if you would like to order additional materials.
AAA STRONGLY SUPPORTS 'COMMUTER PROTECTION ACT'
AAA Auto Clubs in New York and New Jersey strongly support legislation introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Congressman Mike Grimm (R-Staten Island) and Tom Reed (R-Rochester) that will provide badly needed oversight to protect the driving public from unjustified toll hikes and ill-advised use of motorist-gener
In a shocking reversal, the Port Authority now claims that they are not using toll revenue to fund non-transportation related real estate development costs.
"The Authority's claim represents a complete 180-degree reversal from announcements the Authority made over the summer," says John Corlett, AAA New York's Director of Government Affairs.
This massive "flip flop" has outraged elected officials in both New York and New Jersey as well as Congress, whom are now calling for a comprehensive top-to-bottom review of the Authority's operations and finances. Legislators are also calling for reform at the Authority that will increase its accountability and financial transparency.
The Authority's claim is in response to a federal lawsuit filed by AAA New York and AAA North Jersey calling to stop the Authority from implementing toll hikes. A court date is now scheduled for December 8, 2011.
Tell your elected officials to take action by clicking here.
Click here to view the new motor vehicle, highway, and travel laws for 2011.
Where's your car's spare tire? If you're driving any number of new vehicles, don't bother looking; you don't have a spare. Not even a pint-sized, blackrimmed "donut." You might find an inflator pump and a can of flat-sealing goop.
AAA New York and AAA North Jersey have filed a Federal lawsuit in Manhattan seeking to stop the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey from collecting higher tolls on the Authority’s six bridges and tunnels connecting New York and New Jersey.AAA is also asking the United States Court to compel the Authority to turn over the Capital Plan that stands behind the need for toll increases.
In its complaint to the Federal court, AAA contends that the Authority’s toll rates contravene Federal law which requires interstate tolls to be set at “just and reasonable” levels.“In a 1989 court decision involving that statute, the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals held that the use of toll revenue must be functionally related to transportation,” said Marta Genovese, AAA New York’s Vice President and Counsel.
AAA’s lawsuit alleges that the predominant reason for the new and unprecedented toll increase is to generate billions of dollars to subsidize projects totally unrelated to transportation primarily by funding real estate redevelopment costs at the World Trade Center.“The Authority is attempting to burden commuters and travelers with public expenditures that are in no way related to transportation,” said Ms. Genovese.
Congressman Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island) joined AAA’s effort’s to fight the Port Authority’s unlawful toll increases. “The people of Staten Island are being forced to pay the tolls of three major bridges connecting New York and New Jersey, yet will not receive direct benefits. The Port Authority admits that the funds raised from the toll hikes will be used to pay for the over-budgeted World Trade Center site and the PATH train, which Staten Islanders cannot use because they do not have a light rail to get them there,” Congressman Grimm said. “I will not standby and allow residents of Staten Island to be used as the bailout for the Port Authority’s debt, mismanagement and overspending.I urge the Court to grant the relief being sought by AAA.”
The lawsuit comes on the heels of a request AAA made on September 15th, callingon the United States Department of Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood, to investigate the Authority’s actions as a violation of the Federal Bridge Act.The Authority’s four bridges, the George Washington Bridge, Goethals and Bayonne Bridge, and Outerbridge Crossing, and Holland and Lincoln tunnels were constructed under that Act, which regulates interstate toll rates.
The higher tolls were implemented September 18, 2011 and will increase every year until 2015 when the “cash” rate will hit an unprecedented $15.00 and the E-ZPass rate $12.50 per trip.Much of the new toll revenue generated by the higher tolls will finance speculative real estate ventures by the Port Authority.Should the court grant AAA’s request, the Port Authority will be forced to roll back the September 18th toll increase and be prevented from implementing increases now planned for December 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Ms. Genovese said that should the Port Authority’s actions not be challenged, a troubling new precedent would be established whereby drivers using interstate facilities would be paying for non-transportation related costs.
“Clearly, drivers are already paying more than their fair share – and they are doing so at a time when Federal, State and Local authorities are hard pressed to meet routine road and bridge maintenance needs.Today, more than ever, we should make sure that tolls from facilities on the Northeast corridor’s busiest interstate transportation system are not diverted to unrelated projects,” said Ms. Genovese.
In a letter to United States Department of Transportation (US DOT) Secretary Ray LaHood, AAA New York condemned the upcoming toll increases by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as unprecedented and unlawful, asking the Secretary to join the organization in opposing the diversion of toll revenues to projects outside of the Authority's transportation network.
The toll increases are set to take effect Sunday, September 18th on the Authority's six interstate bridges and tunnels. Citing the federal Bridge Act, AAA New York called increasing tolls to pay for cost overruns stemming from real estate re-development at the World Trade Center, a violation of federal law (33 U.S.C. Section 508). AAANY noted that forcing interstate bridge and tunnel users to pay for unrelated and speculative real estate re-development costs establishes a troubling new precedent that US DOT should join in opposing.
Approved by the two Governors the increases will increase rush-hour tolls for E-ZPass holders on the George Washington Bridge up to $9.50, and cash tolls to $12. Subsequent approved increases bring the tolls to $12.50 for E-ZPass and $15 for cash tolls by 2015.
The toll increases come at a time when the region's roads and bridges are deteriorating and congested. Although toll revenues from Port Authority bridges and tunnels far exceed their operating costs, every one of the Port Authority's four bridges is classified as "functionally obsolete" by the Federal Highway Administration.
"Clearly, drivers are already paying more than their fair share - and they are doing so at a time when federal, state and local authorities are hard pressed to meet routine road and bridge maintenance needs. Today, more than ever, tolls on the Northeast corridor's busiest interstate transportation facilities should not be diverted to unrelated and speculative projects," said the AAA New York officials.
Trucking association representatives echoed AAA's call to the US DOT to oppose the toll hikes. "It is unfathomable that the government's answer to unbridled, irresponsible cost overruns by the Port Authority is to allow them to shake down barely surviving trucking companies. This toll hike further demonstrates the Port Authority's fiscal incompetence," said Kendra Adams, President of the New York State Motor Truck Association.
AAA New York also criticized the process as rushed and completely lacking in transparency, noting that less than three days before its implementation no revised Capital Plan has been released. In addition to asking the US DOT to intercede, AAA New York is evaluating legal and other appropriate steps to contest the increase.
To take action by sending a letter to government officials opposing the increase, click here.
If life were not full of trade-offs, many of us would eat nothing but ice cream. But unfortunately, seemingly good things in excess often have unpleasant side effects. Consider, for instance, pedestrian plazas.
"Rip-off" or "business as usual." What you call the latest action by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority depends on whether you’re a driver or a revenue-hungry official.
As we go to press, the Turnpike Authority plans to eliminate off-peak toll discounts to drivers with E-ZPasses issued by other states.