Press Release Article


Date: May 15, 2007
Press Release Number: 40-2007

Study of All-Electronic Tolling to Bring ‘End of the Tollbooth as We Know It’

Port Authority Executive Director Anthony E. Shorris today outlined an innovative agenda to tackle future regional mobility and environmental issues, including an upcoming study of cashless tolling at Port Authority crossings, a plan to put the agency at the forefront of environmental stewardship, and efforts to end bistate politics and recruit new talent at the agency.

During a breakfast meeting of the Association for a Better New York, Mr. Shorris spoke about the region’s changing environment and the Port Authority’s role in the region.

Outlining steps the Port Authority must take to remain a leader in facilitating the efficient movement of people and goods, Mr. Shorris highlighted a vision for the Port Authority centered around safety, opportunity, and sustainability for the region, and rebuilding capacity and quality at the agency.

Mr. Shorris also said he will ask the Port Authority Board of Commissioners in the next several weeks to approve a study of cashless tolling. An all-electronic toll-collection system ultimately could eliminate the need for tollbooths in favor of electronic cameras and gantrys, and allow for real-time traffic and route information relayed between Port Authority crossings and traffic signs for motorists on approach roads.

“An all-electronic toll system could be a tremendous boon to our road transportation system, helping to smooth the choke points at bridges and tunnels, reduce traveler delays, and potentially provide for benefits to regional air quality” Mr. Shorris said. “This would mark the end of the tollbooth as we know it, replacing these brick and mortar symbols of the 20th century with the digital imaging technology of the 21st century.

“With our successful E-ZPass system, the Port Authority has long been a leader in transit management technology, so it’s fitting that we get out in front of the new field of cashless tolling and electronic cashless management too,” Mr. Shorris said.

At the Port Authority’s three major airports, Mr. Shorris said projections call for the number of air passengers to grow to 150 million by 2025, up from 104 million last year. That’s why the Port Authority was aggressive in acquiring Stewart International Airport, which will help relieve congestion at the New York region’s major airports, Mr. Shorris said.

Aside from operating and upgrading facilities, Mr. Shorris said the agency has a responsibility to be a leader in promoting environmental initiatives.

Mr. Shorris said he will announce new goals for the agency in upcoming months that will put it at the forefront of environmental stewardship.

“We’re going to look at every option, from encouraging carpooling, busing and transit for commuters to finding ways for ships and planes to use alternative sources of energy to power themselves when they’re docked, rather than running their engines the way they do now,” Mr. Shorris said.

At the World Trade Center site, Mr. Shorris said the Freedom Tower and Towers 2, 3 and 4 will be built to LEED Gold standards and also will receive part of their power from on-site fuel cells that produce nearly zero emissions and reduce the load on the power grid. The remainder of the power for the towers, the Memorial and the World Trade Center Transportation Hub will be renewable energy purchased from the New York Power Authority, he said.

“I believe the times demand regional leadership, especially in the transportation sector, and I believe the Port Authority can deliver,” Mr. Shorris said.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates many of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; AirTrain JFK and AirTrain Newark; the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) rapid-transit system; the Port Authority-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.

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