High-Speed Tolling Begins at Hugh L. Carey Today; Queens Midtown Tunnel Next Week
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced high-speed, open-road cashless tolling has begun at the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel as part of his initiative to reimagine New York crossings for the 21st Century. The Hugh L. Carey Tunnel and the Hendry Hudson Bridge are currently the only two New York City crossings with cashless tolling. At these crossings, cameras suspended over the highway on structures known as "gantries" read E-ZPass tags and take license plate images, so vehicles no longer not have to stop and pay the toll. Cashless tolling on the Queens Midtown Tunnel goes into effect on January 10.
The state will also deploy 150 State Troopers beginning in January at major crossings, including MTA bridges and tunnels, to enhance security at key checkpoints, bolster counter-terrorism efforts and hold scofflaws accountable.
“We are taking action to streamline travel, reduce congestion and increase safety at some of New York's busiest crossings,” Governor Cuomo said. “The beginning of cashless tolling at the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel is an important milestone in our efforts to modernize our transportion infrastructure to meet the needs of current and future generations of New Yorkers.”
Open road tolling will be completed at all MTA bridges and tunnels by the end of 2017. The schedule is as follows:
- Rockaway Bridges – Spring 2017
- RFK Bridge – Summer 2017
- Verrazano-Narrows Bridge – Summer 2017
- Throgs Neck Bridge – Fall 2017
- Bronx-Whitestone Bridge – Fall 2017
Open road tolling is projected to save commuters up to 21 hours of drive time every year. Additionally, it reduces emissions and significantly decreases amount of fuel burned by drivers, who will no longer have to stop and start waiting to pay tolls. This will conserve approximately one million gallons of fuel and save $2.3 million each year.
MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said: “I am excited to see cashless tolling come to the first of our major facilities as part of the Governor's aggressive schedule to modernize all of our facilities in 2017."
Vehicles with E-ZPass tags are automatically charged at the crossings. Non-E-ZPass vehicles have their license plates recorded and a bill is mailed to the registered owner of each vehicle every 30 days. Customers who pay tolls by mail will pay the same toll rate as previously paid by cash customers, and E-ZPass customers with New York Service Center tags will continue to get at least a 30 percent discount. E-ZPass tags should be mounted inside the vehicle’s front windshield. Open road tolling has been successfully tested on the West Side of Manhattan.
To make it easy for drivers to pay their tolls, the MTA has introduced a number of programs. Customers can sign up for E-ZPass and save 30 percent to 50 percent on MTA tolls at MTA.info/E-ZPass even if they do not own a car. There are many ways to maintain E-ZPass accounts, including automatic replenishment from a credit or debit card, linking to a checking account to pay as you go, and by using the MTA Cash Reload Card at any Visa ReadyLink location.
Drivers who receive a Tolls By Mail bill can pay it online at the Tolls By Mail website; by mail; over the phone; or in-person, and payment options include check, credit card, checking account, or cash. Customers who call **826 from a mobile phone will receive a text with a link to the Tolls By Mail website and information on how to set up a Pay Toll Now account that can also be used by rental car customers. Customers who do not pay their Tolls By Mail bills are subject to late fees, violations of $50 to $100 per toll, vehicle registration suspensions, and other enforcement actions.
Public Art at Crossings
In addition to making the commute easier for drivers, Governor Cuomo’s “New York Crossings Project” will reconfigure toll plazas into modern transportation gateways. Plaza walls will be transformed by veils that shield security personnel and equipment, while acting as LED message boards.
LED lighting will be adopted on all MTA bridges and tunnels. LED lights use 40 to 80 percent less power and last six times longer than other types of roadway lighting. In addition to costing less and lasting significantly longer, LED lights can be programmed into different colors and patterns.
For additional information on cashless tolling and E-ZPass, please visit MTA.info/cashless or call 1-800-333-TOLL (8655)