Date: Jul 31, 2003
Press Release Number: 101-2003
Port Authority officials today outlined a comprehensive plan to enhance E-ZPass customer service through a series of toll plaza improvements to be implemented at bridge crossings through 2007.
The E-ZPass Toll Plaza Program will be implemented in two phases and focuses on improving traffic flow, ensuring traffic safety and providing a greater overall level of convenience for motorists.
Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, \"As part of a group of agencies that provide E-ZPass service, this initiative will undoubtedly benefit motorists throughout the region. We are pleased by the progress the E-ZPass program has made to date and we look forward to future enhancements for the program.\"
Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano said, \"Investing in additional E-ZPass improvements will enable the Port Authority’s bridges to process more vehicles per hour, which reduces congestion and saves motorists time.\"
Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, \"The E-ZPass toll plaza improvements help us achieve our goal of providing a safe and reliable trip for customers. We’ve seen success already with higher speed E-ZPass toll lanes at the Outerbridge Crossing and we look forward to the program’s implementation at additional Port Authority crossings.\"
Under the Toll Plaza Program, toll plazas will be reconfigured to better facilitate higher-speed toll collection. Changes to the toll plazas will include faster speeds in dedicated E-ZPass lanes, enhanced roadway signs on approach roads to highlight the new speed limits and appropriate lane use. Additionally, barriers to separate the higher-speed traffic from regular toll traffic will be placed on the approach and departure lanes from the tollbooths to ensure the highest levels of safety.
Phase I of the Toll Plaza Program began with the implementation of a 25 mph speed limit at specific dedicated E-Z Pass lanes at the Outerbridge Crossing on June 22, 2003. A 25 mph speed limit program also will be implemented at the Goethals Bridge and the Palisades Interstate Parkway approach to the George Washington Bridge by spring 2004 and the Bayonne Bridge and the upper and lower levels of the George Washington Bridge by the end of 2004.
Phase II of the program, which will be implemented from 2005 to 2007, will increase the speed limit to highway speeds at additional E-ZPass toll lanes of the four Port Authority bridges that link New York and New Jersey. Under the plan, portions of toll plazas will be converted to open-road tolling where tolls will be collected without toll booths or toll lanes by electronic equipment mounted on overhead structures that allow for unimpeded movement of vehicles. The Outerbridge Crossing and the George Washington Bridge’s Palisades Interstate Parkway approach will be the first facilities to introduce the new highway speed system, followed later by the Bayonne and Goethals bridges. The George Washington Bridge’s upper and lower level toll plazas are under study.
This comprehensive program will create better plaza layouts to facilitate higher-speed toll collections that are made possible by E-ZPass. The program will incorporate free-flowing roadway lanes as part of the toll plazas by using electronics combined with new roadway designs. These combined changes will increase capacity, create more efficient traffic flow and reduce congestion.
The Port Authority began offering E-ZPass service at its tunnels and bridges in June 1997. Since its implementation, E-ZPass has improved traffic flow at Port Authority facilities.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates some of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; the George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH rapid-transit system; the Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.