American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves called on Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Andrew Cuomo of New York to reconsider what he called an "ill-conceived and unprecedented" toll hike recently approved by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.

The tolls, which will affect bridges and tunnels in the area, will mean an extra $50 per five-axle truck for E-Z Pass users and even more for cash customers.

"We urge you to veto this proposal, which will not only devastate trucking companies who serve the New York City area, but will also increase the cost of doing business in a region already regarded as among the most expensive in the nation," Graves wrote in a letter yesterday.

Graves added that ATA, along with the state trucking associations in New York and New Jersey, were vehemently opposed to a plan where "a majority of new revenues will subsidize projects with no benefit to those paying the tolls."

"The trucking industry is willing to pay its fair share for the roads and bridges we depend on," Graves said. "But this increase will primarily pay for the Authority's other operations, notably the reconstruction of the World Trade Center."

In his letter, Graves said the proposed tolls will be nearly three times higher than for comparable bridges nationwide. Furthermore, Graves said the combined effect of toll increases in the region must be considered by policy makers before moving forward.

According to the ATA, if these, as well as other proposed increases in the I-95 corridor are implemented, a truck hauling goods from Baltimore to Manhattan will see its toll burden rise from $114.25 today to $209.25 in just three years.

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