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Judge Rejects AAA's Request To Block Port Authority Toll Hikes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- AAA lost its bid Wednesday for a preliminary injunction to block the upcoming round of Port Authority toll hikes.

The automotive group argued that money from the toll hikes on bi-state bridges and tunnels is being spent on projects that have nothing to do with interstate transportation, WCBS 880's Irene Cornell reported.

But after hearing arguments Wednesday, Judge Richard Eaton said he did not hear anything new that would justify granting an injunction to block the increases set to take effect on Dec. 7.

Judge Rejects AAA's Bid To Halt Port Authority Toll Hikes

AAA first filed suit in 2011 to block five increases passed by the Port Authority. Next month's hikes are the fourth of the five that were planned, Cornell reported.

Robert Sinclair, AAA New York spokesman, said his group believes projects on the Pulaski Skyway, Wittpenn Bridge and Routes 1 and 9 should not be financed by commuter tolls.

"That seems to be what is coming out of this, that the Port Authority can decide for itself what is a project that they can spend money on and what is not," Sinclair told CBS2's Christine Sloan.

Nurse and Jersey City resident Karen Scala said the toll hikes aren't fair.

"...I work in Staten Island and to be traveling back and forth with these prices -- everything keeps going up but our pay," she said.

Despite Wednesday's loss, AAA's lawsuit is proceeding. The judge still has not made a final decision in the case.

Attorneys representing the Port Authority had no comment about the case as they left federal court, Sloan reported.

Nearly 250 million vehicles use Port Authority bridges and tunnels every year.

Starting Dec. 7, it will cost most E-ZPass drivers 75 cents more to cross Port Authority bridges and tunnels -- up to $9.75 during off-peak hours, and $11.75 during peak hours. Motorists paying with cash will pay $1 more, up to $14, at all hours.

For more information on the toll hikes, click here.

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