Outgoing Port Authority head Chris Ward appeared at a Lower Manhattan Marketing Association meeting this morning and told the assembled that he was pushed out of his job for political reasons.
“What I learned, as my hand got singed in the oven, was that you can’t raise tolls anymore to what they would have to be to sustain the Port Authority,” Ward said, according to Julie Shapiro of DNA Info.
Mr. Ward added:
“I somewhat paid the political price of saying [the tolls] could have and should have been higher.”
Mr. Ward resigned unexpectedly last month after getting blasted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Gov. Chris Christie for suggesting a significant toll increase. The assumption in political circles was that both Mr. Cuomo and Mr. Christie knew in advance of the toll increase, but panned it publicly for political reasons. A smaller increase was eventually settled up.
Mr. Ward suggested this morning that the failure to raise tolls meant more congestion in the area.
“You’re going to be stuck in traffic on the George Washington Bridge,” he said. “You’re going to be stuck on buses trying to get into the Port Authority Bus Terminal. You’re going to be stuck at LaGuardia and JFK because [they] don’t have enough runway capacity.”
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