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Erie County urges NY to go forward with 'open road tolling'

Fri, Oct 28th 2016 11:05 am

The Erie County Legislature's Majority Caucus unanimously approved a resolution in support of upgrading the entire New York State Thruway system to electronic tolls, which would allow motorists to pass through more easily. Cars and trucks would be tolled through a high-speed EZ-Pass system that doesn't require stopping.

"The traditional toll plazas in the Greater Buffalo region have been a topic of conversation for several years as they have caused various issues for motorists and residents. The Erie County Legislature supports upgrading our region's toll plaza to electronic tolls to virtually eliminate delays and reduce pollution," said Legislator Edward A. Rath, R-Amherst. "The area around the Williamsville toll booth will especially benefit from this change as it has been a trouble spot for years."

Recently, New York state announced that it will begin the conversion to 100 percent electronic tolling for several bridges and tunnels in the New York City area. The Erie County Legislature supports expanding this project and outfitting toll plazas in the Buffalo region with the same technology.

"The legislature wants to see the current upgrades planned for the New York City region brought to Western New York. I encourage the Thruway Authority to take the necessary steps to install electronic tolling here so that our roadways can improve thanks to the advantages of open road tolling," said Legislator Kevin Hardwick, who represents Grand Island in the Erie County Legislature. "I know the residents in my district, especially those living or working on Grand Island, would welcome this improvement as soon as possible as the bridge toll barriers often cause significant delays."

"During peak traffic times, the Lackawanna Toll Barrier can be a nightmare, even with multiple booths open. The electronic tolling would allow cars and trucks to pass through easily, eliminating noise and pollution concerns that plague that area. Most of us have dealt with the headaches associated with today's method for toll-taking and would all benefit from the upgrade," added Legislator Lynne Dixon.

The resolution was also cosponsored by Chairman John Mills, Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo and Legislator Ted Morton and approved 11-0. Copies of the resolution will be sent to the Western New York delegations for the New York State Senate and Assembly, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office, the office of the Director of the New York State Department of Transportation.

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