In Lawsuit, New Jersey Resident Challenges Toll Hikes

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He says the toll increase placed undue financial burden on him since he visits with his elderly grand parents in Brooklyn "several times a week."

[New Jersey]

A New Jersey resident has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court in Manhattan claiming that a recent toll hike by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey unfairly targets minimum wage earners and prevents them from excercising their right to travel freely.

In a 21-page Complaint filed Monday, September 19, 2011, Yoel Weisshaus is seeking declaratory relief charging the Port Authority with "abuse of power and invasion of fundamental rights by increasing toll prices" without giving the public adequate time to comment.

Weisshaus wants the court to declare that further increases of toll prices should be approved by the New York and New Jersey legislators prior to its enactment.
The agency’s board of commissioners approved the toll hike on bridges, tunnels, and the PATH by a 9 to 0 vote; all are appointees of the governor of each state.

The car tolls hiked 50% to $12 from $8 in September. The hike was approved on August 19. Peak-time E-ZPass tolls went up to $9.50 from $8--it will increase to $12.50 by 2015.

Weisshaus also wants the Court to declare that toll proceeds should "not be used for pet projects not related directly to building and maintaining bridges and tunnels" such as rebuilding the World Trade Center. He also wants the Court to bar the Port Authority from deciding on toll hikes "without announcing and providing enough time for the public to attend hearings for comment."

Weisshaus is a resident of New Milford, New Jersey and is currently attending Bergen Community College for an accounting degree. Weisshaus' family is originally from Brooklyn, New York. He says the toll increase placed undue financial burden on him since he visits with his elderly grand parents in Brooklyn "several times a week."

Weisshaus is representing himself and wants members of the public interested in the case to reach him at YoelWeisshaus@yahoo.com

Both New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey's Chris Christie, citing mismanagement as a factor in the toll increases, have called for an audit of the Port Authority.


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