NEW YORK - The MTA on Wednesday rolled out its schedule for removing toll booths from New York City bridges and tunnels over the next year.
The crossings slated for "open road cashless tolling" include the Hugh L. Carey and Queens Midtown tunnels, as well as the Rockaway, RFK, Verrazano-Narrows, Throgs Neck and Bronx-Whitestone bridges.
"Why are we still stopping at toll booths?" Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "It's just an outdated methodology of collecting money."
State officials believe removing the toll booths will reduce congestion, improve traffic flow and make commuting less stressful.
"We have been testing this technology, and it has been working very well on the West Side of Manhattan," MTA Chairman Tom Prendergast said.
The average commute into the city is two hours, which Predergast said is too long.
The cashless tolls will use E-ZPass, and motorists without it will be billed by running the vehicle's license plate.
"New Yorkers who receive three toll violations over the course of five years will have their registration suspended," New York State Police Superintendent George Beach said. "When a vehicle with a suspended registration travels over a bridge or tunnel, an alarm will trigger in the trooper's vehicle alerting him or her of the violator."
There is also a new push to encourage drivers to get E-ZPass, including a public service ad featuring actor John Leguizamo that emphasizes the ease and the 30- to 50-percent cost savings.
"It's like throwing money out the window," he says in the ad. "So you can do this the hard way, or the easy way."