By TED PHILLIPS
A Long Island senator blasted the Port Authority Thursday after it disclosed in court documents last month that this year's toll hikes would not be used to rebuild the World Trade Center.
"During the debate and discussion the Port Authority members . . . [said] this will complete the World Trade Center project," said Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr. (R-Merrick). He said the authority "lied to the public."
In September, the New York and New Jersey chapters of AAA sued the authority to try to block the hike, arguing that use of funds for non-transportation projects would violate federal laws. The case is scheduled for a hearing in federal court in New York City next week.
In August, the Port Authority cited the recession, increased security costs, the cost of rebuilding the trade center and other capital projects as reasons for the hikes. At the time, the authority also said the increased toll revenue would fund $4.6 billion in bridge and tunnel projects and airport security investments.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie backed the hikes to allow completion of projects, including the trade center.
In a statement Thursday, the authority said that without the toll and commuter rail fare increases it "would be unable to fund the interstate transportation network projects, much less complete the long lists of other important non-network projects." The authority said the hikes free up funds for other projects, including the World Trade Center.