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police & fire

Retiree sues after Port Authority rescinds free tolls

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A retired Port Authority police officer is suing the agency for revoking what he says were free tolls for life.

Thomas Westfield, who retired 13 years ago, says he was promised when he took the job with the authority in 1971 that “free passage at its Hudson River vehicular crossings” was a “lifetime benefit.”

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey made headlines in November 2010 when it rescinded the rights along with free parking at the airports it manages. Little was heard about the move until Westfield filed a class action suit last week.

He says 10 percent of an estimated 4,000 retirees affected by the switch have notified him of suits they have filed. Most, like his, were submitted without an attorney and involve claims of breach of contract, false promises and unjust enrichment.

Westfield claims the Port Authority promised that the free tolls would continue not only during employment but “for life upon successful retirement.”

Now, he says, he and other retirees are “required to pay an amount of up to $12 per crossing” on the George Washington, Bayonne, Goethals and Outerbridge Crossing bridges, as well as at the Holland and Lincoln tunnels.

They are also paying “an average of $24 for 4-hour parking” at JFK, LaGuardia and Newark airports, according to the suit, filed in Morris County.




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