Goodbye to Cash Tolls, and Some Notorious History, on the Bridge

Cars pass through toll booths to access the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, NJ, Friday, July 8, 2022.  The busy bridge connecting New Jersey and New York City is moving to cashless tolls.  From July 10, the license plates of drivers paying cash toll will be scanned and billed by mail.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Cars pass through toll booths to access the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, NJ, Friday, July 8, 2022. The busy bridge connecting New Jersey and New York City is moving to cashless tolls. From July 10, the license plates of drivers paying cash toll will be scanned and billed by mail. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

AP

Attention George Washington Bridge Driver: Your cash is not good here.

Starting Sunday, drivers crossing the Hudson River from New Jersey to New York will have to go through an electronic tolling system.

Drivers without an e-ZPass who would otherwise be paying in cash will instead have their license plates photographed by overhead cameras and bills sent to them by mail.

The move by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey comes as a way to help ease congestion on the bridge, which is the busiest of three Hudson River crossings overseen by the agency.

“Many advocates have been calling for this for a long time and it is a welcome move,” said regional planning association president Tom Wright.

With the installation of the new system, the existing toll booths would be removed, leading to a memorable chapter in New Jersey’s political history known as “Bridgegate”.

In 2013, traffic in Fort Lee, New Jersey, was disrupted for several days when a group of Republican political operatives had some access lanes leading to toll booths blocked in retaliation by a Democratic mayor for not supporting the then government. She was Chris Christie to be re-elected.

Christie was not charged with anything, but two men were indicted on federal charges. Those sentences were later overturned by the Supreme Court. Another who had pleaded guilty, the petition was vacated.

The George Washington Bridge is a crossing point not only for getting into New York City, but also for drivers using Interstate 95. The Port Authority said more than 49 million vehicles crossed the east side last year, and it is the most commonly used Hudson River crossing. by trucks.

The Port Authority said cashless tolling has been in use in the Holland Tunnel since December 2020, and is expected to begin in the Lincoln Tunnel later this year.

Wright said that using electronic systems for tolls “serves more motorists faster and more efficiently.” But, he cautioned, that doesn’t mean there won’t be more congestion as vehicles throng to arrive in this period.

“It’s not like a magic wand,” he said.

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