Menendez Reiterates That New Path Fare Increase Plan Levies Excessive Tax On NJ Commuters, Discourages Mass Transit Use

Menendez Reiterates That New Path Fare Increase Plan Levies Excessive Tax On NJ Commuters, Discourages Mass Transit Use

Menendez has sent letter to Port Authority asking for reconsideration of fare hike

Washington - According to news reports, the Port Authority today will announce a fare hike for PATH trains. U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is reaffirming his opposition to the increase as currently structured.

Last week, as reports of the PATH fare hike were circulating, Sen. Menendez urged the Port Authority to reconsider the plan, saying that it could discourage people from taking the exact type of transportation that should be encouraged and that it levies an unfair tax on low-income residents (Text of letter: http://menendez.senate.gov/pdf/111407LetterToPortAuthorityaboutPATHfares.pdf). Today, Sen. Menendez again called for a reconsideration of the hike and for the investment of any revenue from additional fares back into the PATH system.

"The more frustrating traffic gets, the longer our commutes grow and the dirtier our air becomes, the more we should be encouraging commuters to take the PATH. This plan as it stands does the opposite, and I have called on the Port Authority to reconsider," said Sen. Menendez. "The 50-cent increase is excessive. I'm sure the folks on the New York side of the Hudson are happy with this de-facto commuter tax, but it only places an additional burden on New Jersey riders, especially those who are paid the least.

"I am asking the Port Authority to think twice about this. They should scrap the fare hike altogether or significantly reduce the hike while guaranteeing that any additional revenue be invested right back in the PATH system, so that New Jersey riders can benefit. Looking at this from a broader view, the overarching strategy should be to keep our bridges and tunnels sound while taking steps to reduce maddening traffic and help clean our air. Encouraging PATH ridership is part of the overall solution."

According to reports, the Port Authority plans to implement the jump from a $1.50 fare to $2 early next year. Published reports have pegged the amount of additional revenue that would come from the fare increase at $15 to $30 million, which is a only fraction of both the $3 billion the Port Authority has said it will spend on infrastructure improvements for the PATH system and the $649 million in annual security costs for the Authority.


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