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State's cashless toll system will start in New York City

ALBANY – A cashless toll system is coming to New York State – but for now the Cuomo administration is only saying the electronic collection efforts will be based at bridges and tunnels in New York City.

Given the move by other states to cashless toll collections – most recently New York’s neighbor Massachusetts on its turnpike system – transportation advocates have said it’s only a matter of time before collection methods move to the Thruway as a way to bring high-speed toll collection zones statewide.

The Thruway Authority has talked about electronic toll collection efforts for years. It is focusing its efforts, for now, on the area between Yonkers and Harriman, including the replacement span for the Tappan Zee Bridge between Rockland and Westchester counties.

On Wednesday, Cuomo said fixed toll booths will be replaced at New York City bridges and tunnels administered by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority beginning in January. Motorists will either pay tolls via E-ZPass or will have their vehicle’s license plates photographed and then get a bill in the mail.

To cut down on toll scofflaws, State Police Superintendent George P. Beach said troopers will be stationed at each of the electronic toll areas. Within five seconds of a vehicle going through the area, troopers will be sent information on a car or truck whose owner has not paid tolls. The drivers will then be pulled over.

In January, Beach said a new regulation will kick in that will allow the state to suspend the licenses of drivers who have failed to pay three or more toll notices in a five-year period. That rule will affect drivers statewide.

Beach said the changes are needed “to ensure everyone is paying their fair share.’’

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