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No Stop And Go

Thruway To Begin Cashless Tolling This Month

This new gantry installed at the Westfield thruway exit will replace the current tollbooths. Photo by Natasha Matteliano

Getting an E-ZPass will be the only way to avoid extra charges on tolls once the new year starts.

For the past two years, the New York State Thruway Authority has been hard at work, installing gantries at every exit and across the Thruway. The project is now finished and will be turning to cashless tolling to reduce congestion, improve safety and reduce air pollution. More than 35 bridges, tunnels and toll roads across the nation use cashless tolling already.

If motorists have an E-ZPass, your toll is collected using the same process that people are already familiar with. If someone doesn’t have an E-ZPass, they will be facing higher toll charges and potential late fees and violation fees.

“This historic modernization of the Thruway system is one of the largest projects in the Authority’s history,” Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said. “When we ‘flip the switch’ on cashless tolling in November, a new era of toll collection will commence and millions of drivers that travel the Thruway each year will benefit for generations to come.”

After a motorist travels through a cashless facility, an image is captured of the license plate. Using the address on file with the Department of Motor Vehicles, a toll bill is mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle. Motorists with and without E-ZPass using the New York State Thruway cashless tolling system can pay their toll bill a variety of ways.

The E-ZPass is prepaid, so using this will be the easiest and most convenient way of paying tolls used on the thruway, but there is an alternative for those who do not want to commit.

A bill will be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle approximately 30-40 days after travel, which allows the motorist 30 days to pay the bill. If payment is not sent within 30 days, a second toll bill is sent with a $5 late fee. If the second bill is not paid by the due date, the toll bill escalates to a toll violation approximately 100 days after the date of travel.

The motorist is then mailed a Notice of Toll Violation in an orange envelope with a violation fee or fees. Violation fees are $50 per trip. If a notice of violation is not paid within 15 days of the issue date then the notice of violation may be referred to a collection agency.

Failure to respond to three or more Notices of Violation within a five-year period may result in suspension of a motorist’s vehicle registration by the DMV. Not only is an E-ZPass more convenient, the tolls have a 5% discount when one is used and there is no chance of a late fee or toll violation.

On Oct. 14, the New York State Thruway Authority announced cashless tolling will go live on the Thruway’s ticketed system in November. The historic conversion will take place overnight all at once at tolling locations across the 570-mile thruway system. The exact date is not yet known.

According to the Thruway Authority, the $355 million conversion to cashless tolling will transform and modernize the thruway system for the approximately 267 million motorists that travel the superhighway each year.

Cashless tolling reduces congestion through free-flowing traffic and reduces emissions by eliminating idling at toll booths.

A total of 70 steel gantries have been installed at 58 tolling points on the Thruway’s ticketed system. The gantries will replace the current toll plazas, which are scheduled to be removed in Phase 2 of the project, which will finish in the fall of 2021. The gantries were built utilizing approximately 3.5 million pounds of 100% American-made steel and hundreds of New York workers in accordance with the “New York Buy American” Act at LMC Industrial Contractors Inc. in Livingston County.

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