Monday, April 16, 2012

Experts predict even more Port Authority toll hikes to come

According to The Daily Record, the Port Authority is likely to continue increasing tolls to cover huge debts iuncurred over the past 10 years.  Navigant Consulting Inc. has released two reports detailing the likelihood of toll increases and possible future borrowing problems.  They warn that "future cash flow from operations will not be enough to cover the authority's ongoing capital projects," and are concerned about "the growing gap between [their] cash flow and the amount of borrowed money funding the capital plan."

To comply with the bond covenants with lenders and investors, Port Authority can not "run in the red," which will cause tolls, fares, and fees to automatically increase to avoid default on their payments.  Jonathan Peters, finance professor at the College of Staten Island, who studies toll authority financing, says this means there will "absolutely" be more increases on top of those scheduled to take effect in 2014. 

Officials at the Port Authority say they have no plans to increase tolls beyond the package approved in August 2011. 

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