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-generated funding.
"The Commuter Protection Act would restore to the federal government the power to monitor and regulate any entity, including the Port Authority, that imposes tolls on interstate roads and bridges to ensure the fees are just, reasonable and targeted solely for transportation-related projects," said John Corlett, director of government affairs for AAA New York. "When law, this legislation will provide increased public scrutiny and accountability on the need for toll increases and how the funds would be utilized," Corlett said.
The Act contains assurances that funding from transportation-related sources could not be used for non-transportation projects, like real estate development. The Port Authority originally justified recent toll hikes on its bridges, tunnels and commuter railroad saying the extra money was needed to complete the rebuilding of the World Trade Center. The Authority reversed its position in response to a federal lawsuit brought by AAA seeking to roll back the tolls. A decision in that case is expected shortly.