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Letter: Questions abound regarding introduction of cashless tolls

Questions abound regarding introduction of cashless tolls

The Thruway Authority is about to introduce cashless tolls on the Grand Island bridges and all you have heard from our cheerleading politicians is how great this is.

Here’s the real truth: If you Google Rockland County/cashless tolls you will get a better idea of what you’re in store for. From 2012 to 2014, residents of downstate racked up $21.4 million in fines and fees – not tolls, fines and fees. If you don’t pay up fast enough, your vehicle registration is revoked and your credit rating is ruined.

The Thruway Authority has entered into a contract with a privately owned company called “Confluent,” but 400, yes 400, pages of this contract are blacked out, as are the names of the people running the operation.

The company is supposed to send you a bill in the mail if you don’t have E-ZPass and it often does not. You still owe the toll, but now because you were late because they didn’t bill you, you are also fined. E-ZPass won’t protect you as it has not been notifying motorists that their account is low. So you still get fined.

Now here’s the worst part. There is nothing you can do. There is nowhere in Western New York where you can plead your case; there is no due process or judicial review; you are at the complete mercy of a 900 number downstate.

Now a few questions come to mind. The first is: Why are the politicians not telling us the truth? Same goes for The Buffalo News. Then there’s the aforementioned lack of judicial review. Since when can the state enter into a secret contract, remember those 400 blacked-out pages, and give a private company the right to take money from us and answer to no one? Even the IRS doesn’t have that much power.

Patrick Kelly

Grand Island

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