The Queens Midtown Tunnel in Long Island City will be one of the first to eliminate cash payments beginning this January.
Sensors and cameras will be installed at the tunnel and cars will not be required to stop. Drivers with E-ZPass will be automatically charged and those without it will have their license plate recorded and a bill will be sent to the registered owner.
In October, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that all 7 MTA bridges and tunnels will employ automatic tolling by the end of next year. According to MTA spokesperson Christopher McKniff, the bill will be mailed within a 30-day period and the MTA has agreements with out-of-state Department of Motor Vehicles’ (DMVs) to obtain information to send toll bills to the registered owners of out-of-state vehicles.
Those who do not pay the initial bill will be charged $100 and if the violation notice is unpaid, the violator will be contacted by a collections agency.
Cuomo has also enacted regulation that allows the DMV to suspend the registration of motorists who fail to pay five tolls, fees, and other charges resulting from violations on different days within a period of 18 months.
About 800,000 vehicles cross MTA tunnels and bridges each day and New York drivers spend more than 6,400 hours per day waiting to pay tolls. Automatic or open road tolling is projected to save drivers up to 21 hours of driving time every year, conserve approximately 1 million gallons of fuel and save $2.3 million each year, Cuomo said.
At the Queens Midtown and Hugh Carey (Brooklyn Battery) Tunnels, new barriers will be installed to block floodwater and increased submersible pumping capacity will allow the city to more thoroughly pump water out of these structures in an event like Hurricane Sandy.