Your commute over the Grand Island bridges is about to be streamlined. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday morning that the toll booths will be converted to "cashless tolls".
It is an announcement that many local leaders, on both sides, have been calling for. And it is a change, supporters said, that will ease traffic congestion and reduce auto emissions.
What are cashless tolls? You might also know them by the name of "open road tolling".
There will still be a charge as you pass over the bridge. But instead of toll booths, there are cameras pointed at the on-coming traffic.
The cameras scan the plate number of the approaching cars and look up the EZ pass account linked to that vehicle. The system then deducts the toll from that account.
For those who do not have an EZ pass, the cameras record the license plate and a bill is mailed to the vehicle owner's home.
It will take some design work and construction to install this system on the Grand Island bridges. But we are told it will ease congestion, reduce auto emissions and hang on to the nearly $20 million a year the Grand Island tolls generate.
Cashless tolls have already been rolled out on bridges down state.
In addition to the announcement on cashless tolling, officials also announced a "Next Generation Welcome Center" will be built on Grand Island. We are told it will be educational, informational and recreational.