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Latest Toll Hikes Take Effect On Port Authority Bridges And Tunnels

FORT LEE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Drivers who use Port Authority bridges and tunnels are shelling out even more money for tolls.

Starting at 3 a.m. Sunday, the tolls jumped 75 cents for cars with E-ZPass, costing $9.75 for off-peak hours and $11.75 for peak times. It's up $1 for cash tolls, bringing the total to $14 at all hours.

The new prices apply to drivers headed into New York City on the George Washington Bridge, Holland and Lincoln tunnels, Bayonne and Goethals bridges and the Outerbridge Crossing.

Latest Toll Hikes Take Effect On Port Authority Bridges And Tunnels

The toll hike had commuters fired up on the George Washington Bridge on Sunday morning, CBS2's Ilana Gold reported.

"I'm just probably going to ask for a raise now. That's about it," driver Patrick Dominguez said, laughing.

"Just to travel back and forth on a constant basis, it just takes a toll on your finances," motorist George Gonzalez said.

Latest Toll Hikes Take Effect On Port Authority Bridges And Tunnels

"I travel back in and out for work, and it costs me as much as like a car payment," said driver Carli McCarthy. "Like, it's ridiculous.

"I actually cut back hours because I can't afford to keep going in and out of the city," she added.

"It's terrible to pay all this money, and everything's going up except your pay," one cab driver told WCBS 880's Jim Smith outside the Holland Tunnel.

A number of drivers with E-ZPasses passed through the toll plaza at the Lincoln Tunnel on Sunday morning unaware they had just paid more, 1010 WINS' Roger Stern reported.

"That's unbelievable," Patrick from New Jersey said after being informed of the hike.

Richard, of Scotch Plains, said the increase is going to cost him a couple hundred dollars a year.

"People's salaries don't match all these raises. When does it end, I don't know," said Frank Visaggio, of Hoboken.

When the Port Authority announced the toll hikes, it issued a press release saying it needed money to pay for, among other things, the redevelopment of the World Trade Center, TV 10/55's Steve Langford reported.

The information prompted AAA of New York and North Jersey to file a lawsuit in an attempt to block the toll hike.

The Port Authority then denied it was using toll money to pay to rebuild the World Trade Center, Langford reported.

And last month, a federal judge refused to stop the increase.

The Port Authority claimed the hikes were critical for capital projects dealing with transportation, including a new Goethals Bridge.

"For an average driver in New Jersey earning $100,000 a year, you could wind up paying more in tolls at the Port Authority every year than in income taxes to the state of New Jersey," New Jersey Assemblyman John Wisniewski said.

Wisniewski, chairman of the state Assembly's Transportation Committee, has been investigating the financing and operation of the Port Authority.

"The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, with a budget bigger than 26 states, is selected by governors, operates almost in secrecy and has absolutely no public accountability. That's gotta change," he said.

The hikes aren't over yet. Sunday's increase is the fourth of five scheduled for Port Authority bridges and tunnels. By this time next year, drivers will pay another 75 cents to $1 more to drive into the city. The $15 cash toll then will be nearly double what it was in 2010.

Calls from TV 10/55 to the Port Authority for comment have not been returned.

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