Dec. 7, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan
Drivers who use the Queens Midtown Tunnel will no longer be able to pay the toll in cash beginning in January, according to the MTA.
The change to cashless tolls is part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan to make all city bridges and tunnels cash free by the end of 2017 in an effort to improve traffic flow and decrease emissions.
The new system, which will not affect E-Z Pass holders, will see gantries installed over the roadway with cameras and sensors taking the place of tolling booths. The cameras will photograph each license plate and a bill will be sent to the home of the registered owner of the vehicle.
Those drivers who don’t pay the bill will be fined, and if multiple bills get ignored, they will be referred to a collection agency, according to Christopher McKniff, a MTA spokesman said.
The city has partnered with out-of-state DMVs to ensure bills get sent to non-New York drivers, said McKniff.
The toll price for the tunnel will remain the same for the time being, $5.45 for E-Z Pass holders, and $8 for those without passes. However the current prices are under review, and could go up in the future, McKniff said.
The old toll booths will be taken out sometime after the cashless system kicks off, McKniff said.
The governor argues that automatic tolling will not only decrease traffic congestion and save drivers time, but will also be good for the environment. According to the Governor’s office, the new system will conserve about a million gallons of gas and save $2.3 million each year.
Both MTA tunnels, the other being the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, will switch over to the cash-free system in January, and all MTA bridges will follow suit by the end of 2017 under Cuomo’s plan.