Chilly Ruling for Luddites|on New York City Bridges


     MANHATTAN (CN) – New Yorkers who want toll discounts better put EZ-Passes on their wish lists after getting a frosty Christmas Eve shutdown from the 2nd Circuit.
     The unsigned decision closes the book on the six-year court battle waged by three New Jersey residents and one Queens resident against policies that discourage cash payments on New York City bridges.
     Their lawsuit against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, and their chiefs skewered discounts for EZ-Pass travelers on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge and the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge.
     When U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer found last year that this policy caused only a “minor burden” for cash travelers, the challengers told the 2nd Circuit that the policy made an “invidious distinction” between residents and nonresidents that encroached upon out-of-towners’ right to travel.
     Unconvinced, a three-judge panel found Wednesday that the appeal failed to present evidence “that even one traveler was meaningfully dissuaded from traveling interstate because of the tolls at issue.”
     Judges Jose Cabranes, Richard Wesley and Peter Hall made up the panel, which also ruled that the Commerce Clause does not apply.
     MTA spokesman Adam Lisberg applauded the court for agreeing that “resident toll discounts are constitutionally sound.”
     In light of the holiday, the plaintiffs did not return a request for comment referred by the firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

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