GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) — Grand Island’s Town Supervisor wanted them, and now they’re coming — cashless tolls.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo was in western New York on Tuesday to announce the new tolls.
Earlier this year, Town Supervisor Nate McMurray made a video about the tolls called “Dear Governor Cuomo.”
His goal was to either get rid of the tolls at the Grand Island bridges, or bring in cashless tolling. The reason is that he thinks it will help reduce pollution and traffic.
McMurray was looking for a response from Albany, and he received just that.
On Tuesday morning, Gov. Cuomo came to Grand Island to announce that cashless tolls will be a new part of the heavily-used bridges. They will be the first in upstate New York.
“Grand Island is a vital connector for residents and tourists traveling to Buffalo, Niagara Falls and beyond, and with the addition of cashless tolling and a new welcome center, we are not only supporting a growing regional economy but also raising the profile of tourist attractions in communities across Western New York,” Cuomo said. “By transitioning to cashless tolling, one of these most traveled roads in Western New York will become safer and less congested to help meet the needs of 21st century motorists, while providing commuters easy access to the new welcome center for generations to come.”
The picture below shows a rendering of a cashless toll point, which will scan E-ZPass tags.
Cashless tolling will be in place on the bridges this March after construction begins in October.
Toll collectors will be offered other positions within the Thruway Authority. A number of those jobs will be toll collection positions.
State Sen. Chris Jacobs released a statement on Tuesday morning:
“Since taking office in January, the removal of the Grand Island tolls has been a top priority for me, and I am extremely pleased with today’s announcement that cashless tolling will soon be implemented.
The Grand Island toll plazas have caused environmental harm, created a less safe and longer commute for motorists and served as an impediment to moving people and goods between Erie and Niagara Counties. That is why earlier this year I called on both the Thruway Authority and the Governor to bring cashless tolling to the Grand Island bridges, and why I introduced legislation to remove the toll booths.
Now that cashless tolling is coming to the Grand Island bridges, I am confident that Grand Island residents and motorists all across Western New York will enjoy a safer and faster commute while we maximize the state’s investment in a more accessible new welcome center. The negative impacts of these tolls will soon be a thing of the past.”
AAA also issued a statement on the cashless tolls:
“AAA applauds efforts by the New York State Thruway Authority to move forward with the implementation of cashless tolling at the Grand Island Bridges. AAA believes that toll authorities should utilize high-speed electronic toll collection systems to minimize traffic congestion, increase safety, and speed traffic flow. Where such systems are in place, AAA believes that motorists’ right to privacy should be protected.
AAA supports traffic management strategies such as expedited passage over bridges that provide tangible commuting advantages.
When it comes to travel and tourism, car rental companies should clearly and conspicuously disclose to customers their policies and procedures regarding the use of cashless tolling facilities and the use of electronic toll transponders. Any administrative fees or surcharges should be fair and transparent.
Thank you to our elected officials and community leaders who supported the cashless tolling initiative in Grand Island.”