Who Owns the Toll Road in New York?

Just like what is obtainable in other major urban cities of the world, New York has a wide network of toll lanes strategically positioned to decongest traffic along major routes. Officially, it is called the Governor Thomas E. Dewey Thruway, and it uses an electronic system called an EZ Pass to bill motorists who use the toll lanes to escape traffic.

Who owns and manages the toll lanes?

The New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA) is responsible for operating New York State’s Thruway. This body is a public benefit agency saddled with the responsibility of maintaining all toll facilities in the State. So, in essence, toll roads in  New York are owned by New York taxpayers but managed by the NYSTA on behalf of the government of New York and it’s residents.

The Thruway system is made up of controlled highways covering demography of 917.05 km within the State as well as a mainline that runs from the City Line starting at Yonkers to Penn State line off Albany. New York’s Thruway is so busy that it is adjudged to be the fifth busiest toll lane in the US.

Organizational Structure of New York Stata Thruway Authority (NYSTA)

Serving as a public corporation for the benefit of New Yorkers, the NYSTA came into existence in 1950 with the sole responsibility of constructing, operating, and maintaining the Thruway System and all limited-access highways all over New York. The executive officials of the NYSTA report to a board consisting of 6 directors. As for its operational budget, the NYSTA operates without financial support from the State government but functions within its own financial capacity. NYSTA derives its operational funds from toll and fees paid by motorists. There is currently more than 3,700 staff employed by NYSTA.

History of New York’s Thruway

In early 1949, a superhighway toll to connect all the major cities in New York State was proposed, and months later, the Department of Works commenced construction. However, by 1950, the need for an independent public corporation entity was sighted. Therefore, the State Legislature passed an Act establishing the Thruway Authority Act.

The Thruway Authority was saddled with the responsibility to construct and manage the tolls all across the State. The Thruway Authority started operations by selling toll revenue bonds to raise funds. Rents, concessions, and other income sources were also utilized. The Thruway Act of 1950 also articulated a hybrid toll system with barrier collection systems as well as long-distance tickets for rural New York.

Safety Tips to adhere to when driving along the Thruway

Here are some safety tips to bear in mind when driving along New York City’s tolled routes.

  • Slow down your vehicle once you see vests, reflectors or lights in front of or around you
  • Approach emergency vehicles or police vehicles slowly. Do the same when approaching ambulances, fire trucks, tow trucks or construction vehicles
  • “Move Over Law” holds for both sides of the highway and not just on the right
  • Protect yourself and all occupants on the front seat at all times by wearing seat belts
  • Children aged eight and under require a child restraint system at all times
  • Do not make U-turns on the highway
  • Do not park or stop on Medians or Travel Lanes
  • Always provide signals to other drivers before you make a move
  • Do not use handheld cell phones when driving
  • Always keep to the right lane. Use left lanes to pass only
  • Tailgating is prohibited on the Thruway
  • Adjust your speed to suit the traffic condition
  • Do not drink and drive. Always stay alert
  • Keep your eyes open for stray deers
  • Don’t pick up hitchhikers on the highway
  • Children aged 12 and under should sit at the back with seat belts on
  • All passengers should buckle up at all times
  • Pregnant, old and small-sized adults occupying the front seat should sit as far away from the steering as possible
  • Infants safety seat should not be placed on the front seat in an air bagged vehicle

How the Thruway Works?

To function optimally, it uses a set of electronic tickets and road tolling in a perfect combination. For instance, motorists use tickets to use the mainline between Williamsville and Harriman and then from the Lackawanna route to Penn State line. Motorists also use tickets to pay for tolls on the New England and Niagara Thruways. Same for the Berkshire Connector, but the East and South of Harriman uses solely electronic tolling.

Electronic tolling uses an EZ Pass system with tolls paid for by drivers using either their EZ Pass NY tags (if they have one) or Tolls By Mail.

It is important to note that not all the tolls toll plaza attracts a charge – Garden State Parkway Connector and Cross-Westchester Expressway are exceptions. These plazas are toll-free.

Also Read: How to Pay Tolls in New York?

How to use New York’s Thruway?

New York City’s Thruway usage comes at a cost charged to the registration number of the vehicle. Drivers can either use ticketing or electronic tolling to pay for tolls, as stated above. For most drivers, they prefer using an EZ Pass NY account because it is very convenient to settle bills, especially in the event of traffic violations or when they are running a tight schedule.

Payment Options available to Drivers

If you are an EZ Pass customer, you have three payment options you can utilize to pay for your tolls. If you prefer direct toll deductions, you can regularly replenish your EZ Pass account whenever funds become low. You may also pay for each trip you make across the Thruway. Cash payments are also allowed on EZ Pass Only lanes but expect to lose a few minutes of your time expediting payments the traditional way.

Reference: https://new.mta.info/fares-and-tolls/bridges-and-tunnels/ways-to-pay