New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to eliminate toll booths from the State Thruway by 2020.
Under the proposal, drivers wouldn’t have to stop at a single toll booth from New York City to Buffalo along the 496-mile “superhighway.”
Cuomo made the announcement as part of Cuomo’s 2018 “State of the State” address Jan. 3.
He said the switch to “cashless tolls” would reduce congestion and improve travel times.
The governor’s office has not yet said how much money new cashless tolls technology would cost or exactly how the tolls would work.
In a description of the proposal, the state said it plans to install license plate readers and state-of-the-art homeland security devices.
In other states that have done away with toll booths, such as Massachusetts, officials have installed large metal “gantries” that scan license plates as cars pass beneath them without having to slow down.
The technology automatically charges drivers with E-ZPass transponders. The state mails bills to drivers who do not have E-ZPass.
In Massachusetts, defense contractor Raytheon developed the technology as part of a $130 million contract, according to The Boston Globe.
More than 400 toll collectors lost their jobs when the Massachusetts Turnpike went cashless, according to reports.
The New York State Thruway employs about 1,100 toll collectors, mostly part-time. They are represented by a union, Teamsters Local 72. The union’s president could not immediately be reached for comment.
Cuomo said in his announcement the changes he is proposing could save New Yorkers millions of hours on the road.
“By eliminating the need to stop at a toll, this technology improves the driving experience, speeds traffic flow, and benefits those who live near toll collection points by reducing congestion-related emissions,” the governor’s office said in a statement.
Cuomo Jan. 4 also announced plans to update and modernize 27 service areas on the Thruway.