The New York State Thruway Authority has officially begun work to implement cashless tolling throughout the entire system.
Thruway Authority Executive Director Matt Driscoll addressed the project Thursday while in Western New York to discuss the rehabilitation of a section of the highway running through the Seneca Nation’s Cattaraugus Territory. The authority said crews started in early September and currently working to prepare the sites.
“We’ve already begun that project,” Driscoll said. “It’s already underway. The contractor is already beginning to mobilization and doing work.”
The project is expected to take more than a year with the goal for cashless tolling to go live by the end of next year. While the contractor is responsible for the order in which it works on sites across the state, cashless tolling won’t be implemented until everything is ready.
“The whole system will be done by 2020 so when we turn it on, when we flip the switch, the entire state will be cashless at the exact same second,” Driscoll said.
When it’s ready there will be gantries – Oxford Dictionary describes them as bridge like overhead structures – instead of toll booths. The executive director said the gantries are being manufactured right now but won’t start going up until 2020.
The state has a map to keep track of when installation of the gantries is underway, when installation is complete and when cashless tolling is live.
Driscoll said the authority has not had any conversation about removing tolls for any sections of the system. He stressed the importance of tolling – noting the Thruway receives no tax revenue and is maintained and repaired with money from tolls.