Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on June 17 that the New York State Thruway Authority’s board of governors has approved spending $355.3 million to install cashless tolls on the entire Thruway system.
Cuomo said that the project would be handled by an entity named Cashless Tolling Constructors LLC. According to the New York State Department of State, Cashless Tolling Contractors LLC was first registered on Sept. 3, 2018, in Rensselaer County. The proposal by Cashless Tolling Constructors still must be approved by the state Comptroller’s Office.
Toll collection on the Mario M. Cuomo Bridge was among the early conversions to cashless operations on the Thruway. The Yonkers toll barrier near Stew Leonard Drive in Yonkers, Spring Valley toll barrier used for commercial traffic near the Garden State Parkway exit and the Harriman toll at Exit 16 near Woodbury Common also have been converted. By the end of 2020, 52 Thruway interchanges and toll barriers will have been changed to cashless toll collection.
A spokesperson for the Thruway Authority confirmed information obtained by the Business Journal that Cashless Tolling Constructors LLC is made up of A. Servidone Inc./B. Anthony Construction Group JV, Rittenburg Construction Corp., and Economy Paving Co. Inc. Design firms involved in the project include Santec Consulting Services Inc. and KC Engineering and Land Surveying PC. The firm M&J Engineering PC will be responsible for construction inspections. Payments to the various firms are covered by the single $355.3 million contract, the Business Journal was told.
The Thruway’s ticket system for determining the number of miles traveled and corresponding toll due from motorists will become obsolete with cashless collections. With the cashless system, E-ZPass devices in vehicles are triggered to send signals that are picked up by antennas on a gantry spanning the roadway. The toll is then deducted from the prepaid account for that vehicle.
When no E-ZPass device is present, an image of the vehicle’s license plate is captured. Using motor vehicle registration records, a bill is generated and mailed to the vehicle’s registered owner. It generally takes about a month for the bill to be mailed and then the recipient is given a month to pay. If payment is not received by the due date, a second bill is generated with a $5 late payment fee added. If the recipient still doesn’t pay, a $50 violation fee gets tacked on. Uncollected tolls and violation fees can be sent to a collection agency and multiple failures to pay tolls can lead to suspension of vehicle registrations.
Once toll collection has been switched to cashless equipment, existing toll plazas and barriers will be removed. “When completed, the millions of people who travel the Thruway each day will benefit by never again having to stop at a toll booth, which will ease congestion, enhance safety, and lower emissions from idling,” said Matthew J. Driscoll, executive director of the Thruway Authority.