Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the tolling system on the city’s bridges and tunnels owned by the MTA–that would be Robert F. Kennedy, Throgs Neck, Verrazano-Narrows, Bronx-Whitestone, Henry Hudson, Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial, and Cross Bay Veterans Memorial bridges and the Queens-Midtown and Hugh Carey (formerly Battery) tunnels–will be getting a $500 million overhaul. Cuomo also announced that the $500 million the MTA will asked to contribute to pay for the new collection system will also cover new LED lights on some of the city’s bridges.
The New York Daily News reports that the new “open road” system, part of the governor’s New York Crossings project, will install devices that collect toll money from drivers via E-Z Pass or bill them later. The system has apparently been tested on the Henry Hudson Bridge.
All tunnels and bridges included in the overhaul will get the new tollbooths by the end of the year. The revamp also includes $100 million in state and federal money to protect the bridges and tunnels from flooding.
The result: No more tollboths to tie up traffic. “We have the most congested roads in the nation,” Cuomo said. “If you look at our commute times, they’re getting longer and longer.” It’s estimated that drivers would save 21 hours a year without toll booth tie-ups.
The fancy new lights — also planned for the Port Authority-owned George Washington Bridge, could, Cuomo said, “put on a ‘breathtaking’ light show for tourists,” with a theme, for example, like, The City That Never Sleeps. Cuomo added, “Our bridges are some of the most beautiful on the globe, just structurally. If they were illuminated, they could be breathtaking and I believe they could be an international tourist attraction.”
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