The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey won a court battle Nov. 19 against the Automotive Automobile Association's efforts to block a planned December toll hike.

Judge Richard K. Eaton of the Court of International Trade ruled that the Port Authority can proceed with raising peak-hour tolls on bridges the agency runs by 75 cents for cars with E-ZPass and $1 for those paying cash starting on Dec. 7. The AAA's New York and New Jersey chapters filed a lawsuit in September 2011 against the Port Authority seeking to overturn the toll hikes on the basis that the agency was using the extra revenues for projects unrelated to the transportation system it oversees including the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site.

"I'd like the AAA to give up this lawsuit and talk to us about settling it and saving their constituents money," said Port Authority Chairman John J. Degnan at a press conference following the agency's monthly November meeting. "To me there is not an issue in this lawsuit worth litigating."

AAA New York spokesman Robert Sinclair Jr. said while the agency is "disappointed" by Judge Eaton's ruling, separate but related lawsuits against the Port Authority's planned expenditures from toll hikes will proceed. Additional toll hike increments are slated through December 2015.

"We thought we had a good case for getting an injunction for the next round of toll hikes," said Sinclair. "It seems like a big stretch to us but unfortunately the judge did not agree."

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