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Drive Is On To Expand Cashless Tolling Along The New York Thruway

ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) - The executive director of the New York State Thruway Authority says drivers should expect to see more cashless tolls throughout the state. Matthew Driscoll discussed the plans Wednesday on Grand Island where cashless tolls have been receiving mixed reviews from commuters.

"Cashless tolling is a critical part of our infrastructure plan to modernize the Thruway system," Driscoll said.

Over 20 million drivers have driven through the cashless system at Grand Island, Driscoll said. He called the process "very successful."

However, that was not the opinion of every driver stopping at  the Western New York Welcome Center during Wednesday's event.

"I had an E-ZPass situation and there's nobody to talk to," said Marcia Washington, who stopped at the Welcome Center Wednesday "talk to somebody" to resolve her problems.

"Everything is online," Washington said. "I don't do anything online."

Washington said she was satisfied after talking to workers after they agreed to mail her bill.

Mark Gollitzer also stopped with a question about E-ZPass as he sought to put another vehicle on the road.  He said workers at Wednesday's event were able to provide answers "to my satisfaction."

That seemed to be the general reaction from most visitors after they were able to speak with a worker face-to-face. Still, there are lingering concerns on how drivers are billed.

"If you cross through a gantry, the photo is taken. We send the bill out within 30 days. We don't hear back from the customer, we send a second bill after 60 days. After 60 days we don't hear anything, we send that third bill, that's after 100 days and that's where that fee is associated on the violation. So, people have 100 days to pay," Driscoll explained.

Driscoll says proposals in Albany to build in more consumer protection will cost the authority money and might not resolve any issues.