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Thursday, June 13, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Port Authority Retirees Fight for Free Tolls

MORRISTOWN, N.J. (CN) - A retired police officer filed a class action against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for revoking Port Authority retirees' rights to free tolls for life.

Thomas Westfield claims the Port Authority "unilaterally revoked [his] promised right to free passage at its Hudson River vehicular crossings," a right that "had been promised upon starting employment at the Port Authority," as "a lifetime benefit."

Westfield, who retired from the Port Authority Police Force in 1998, claims that the Port Authority broke its promise to employees by a vote in November 2010, rescinding their right to free tolls on bridges and tunnels, and canceling their right to free parking at airports the Port Authority manages.

Westfield says the Port Authority promised the free tolls "would be available during their tenure of employment, and for life upon successful retirement."

He says the free tolls have been in place since before he started at the Port Authority in 1971. At first, the Port Authority "issued paper passes for such benefit," then "switched to the electronic EZPass to facilitate the process" in 2002.

Now the class must pay tolls on the George Washington Bridge, the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, the Bayonne Bridge, the Goethals Bridge and the Outerbridge Crossing. Free parking at John F. Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty Airports also was revoked.

Class members "are now required to pay an amount of up to $12 per crossing" and "an average of $24 for 4 hour parking at their airports."

Westfield estimates the class consists of more than 4,000 retirees says 400 have notified him of claims they filed. He seeks class damages for breach of contract, breach of promise and unjust enrichment.

He filed pro se in Morris County Court, apparently as an attorney, signing the complaint Thomas Westfield, Esq.

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