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DRPA Delays Hikes For PATCO Fare, Not Bridge Tolls

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(File photo)

(File photo)

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CAMDEN, NJ (CBS) – Faced with budgetary deadlines and threats of financial repercussions from Wall Street, the Delaware River Port Authority voted Wednesday to allow $1 bridge toll increases to take effect as scheduled next July.

But PATCO high-speed line riders are in line for a bit of a break.

PATCO’s scheduled ten-percent fare hike will not come on New Year’s Day, but rather on July 1st — the same day the DRPA bridge tolls go from $4 to $5. The board calls the PATCO change not a delay but a “realignment.”

And bond-rating agencies are not likely to downgrade the DRPA’s credit worthiness based on that action, according to CFO John Hanson.

“I do not believe there would be an issue with the rating agencies,” Hanson told the DRPA board, “provided that the $27 million that is anticipated through the toll increase remains in place.”

And commissioners have made it clear that it will — not that they’re thrilled about it.

But funding for future capital projects, including redecking of the Walt Whitman Bridge, are dependent on those bridge toll hikes.

Commissioners also approved operational and capital budgets for next year, both trimmed in light of the shaky economy.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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