Group sues over Delaware River toll hikes

Roadway Express Inc. and three lobbying groups that represent truckers have filed a federal lawsuit against the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission challenging toll increases on seven bridges connecting New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Tolls for trucks and cars on bridges jumped Saturday, in some cases almost tripling from previous rates. The suit filed by Roadway, American Trucking Assns. (ATA),

Roadway Express Inc. and three lobbying groups that represent truckers have filed a federal lawsuit against the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission challenging toll increases on seven bridges connecting New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Tolls for trucks and cars on bridges jumped Saturday, in some cases almost tripling from previous rates.

The suit filed by Roadway, American Trucking Assns. (ATA), Pennsylvania Motor Truck Assn. and New Jersey Motor Truck Assn., said the hikes violate federal laws requiring tolls to be "just and reasonable."

On five of the seven bridges, the operator of a five-axle truck that previously paid $4 to cross now pays $11.25. A second round of planned hikes would cost the same driver $16.25 in January 2004, the group said.

"We are asserting in our complaint that these increases are not reasonable," said ATA lawyer Robert Digges. "We just think that this was too much, too fast."

The commission operates bridges on a 140-mile stretch of the river from Trenton, NJ, to Milford, PA. It said it needs to increase tolls to pay for $526 million in improvements and repairs.

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