The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will begin phasing out its toll booths at the three Hudson River crossings after approving a “cashless tolling” system at its Thursday board meeting.
Under a $240 million contract, the Port Authority would get rid of the cash toll collection systems at the George Washington Bridge and both the Holland and Lincoln tunnels.
In their place, drivers can pay via EZ Pass, or an automated computer system where overhead cameras snap a photo of a license plate and mail a bill to the registered owner of the car. Transportation officials contend that the move will cut down on traffic delays, as well as car accidents, which typically happen at toll booths.
The system was already installed in the recently reopened Bayonne Bridge, which connects Staten Island and Hudson County.
Port Authority officials plan to have the system ready to go at the Holland Tunnel by late 2020, followed by the Lincoln Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge the following year.
Cashless tolling would likely pave the way for the controversial congestion pricing proposal, which would be levied against drivers entering Manhattan’s central business district during peak traffic rush hour.
The amount paid in tolls at the two tunnels would likely be credited against the remaining surcharge, but the Murphy administration said it is worried that drivers at the bridge would be “double-taxed” by both the toll and the new surcharge.
New York officials plan for the pricing scheme to go into effect next year. The money is set to be used toward upgrades and maintenance for infrastructure projects in New York City, such as the sprawling and beleaguered subway system operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.