8:58 p.m. | Updated In a sharp but widely predicted reversal, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on Thursday unveiled a revised slate of toll and fare increases on the major Hudson River crossings, one far less steep than the agency initially proposed.
Under the new plan, E-ZPass tolls would be raised in September to $9.50 a ride at peak hours, from $8, on the George Washington Bridge, the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, and three other crossings to Staten Island.
Drivers who pay with cash would face a 50 percent increase in September, to $12 a ride, from $8. Tolls would then rise by 75 cents more a year through 2015, with cash tolls rounded up to the nearest whole dollar.
The less-stringent increases are expected to be approved by the Port Authority’s board of commissioners at a meeting on Friday.
The authority had proposed a $4-a-ride increase for E-ZPass users next month, drawing criticism from drivers and some politicians — including, somewhat incongruously, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who jointly control the agency.
Toll increases at the Port Authority are often highly choreographed affairs, and few transportation groups expected the initial proposal to remain unchanged. Both governors had said they were surprised at the steepness of the initial proposal, although their administrations were made aware of the plan before it was publicly announced.
In a joint statement on Thursday, Mr. Christie and Mr. Cuomo said they were pleased with the revised proposal, which they described as a “responsible alternative.”
“We are pleased that our work together resulted in a lowering of the original toll increase,” they wrote.
The revised proposal was hashed out after discussions between their offices and the Port Authority.
Under the revised proposal, a single fare on the PATH train, the commuter subway system between Manhattan and New Jersey, would be raised in September by 25 cents, to $2 a ride. The fare would then be raised by 25 cents for three additional years after that.
If approved, the new tolls would be the first Port Authority increase since 2008, and only the third since 2001.
In their statement, Mr. Christie and Mr. Cuomo called for a substantial audit of the Port Authority’s operating budget and capital plan. The governors said the toll increases were necessary because of “fiscal mismanagement” at the agency, and they pledged to reduce the size of the agency’s capital plan, which includes maintenance and expansion of the Port Authority’s infrastructure, over the next 10 years.
The agency’s initial proposal had been endorsed by many regional transportation advocates and construction groups, who said the Port Authority required the additional revenue to pay for its significant infrastructure needs.
The Port Authority controls many of the region’s bridges, tunnels, shipping ports and airports. It has also overseen and paid for most of the World Trade Center reconstruction project, which has siphoned off billions of dollars that would otherwise have been spent on its transportation assets.