The technology exists to save a carpool discount that is scheduled to endin January because tolls at the George Washington Bridgeare going cashless in 2021, said two congressmen who asked Port Authorityofficials to reconsider.
U.S. Reps Josh Gottheimer, and Bill Pascrell, both D-NJ, said the technology exists and is being currently used in California, Georgia, and Massachusetts. They asked the Port Authority to reconsider ending carpool discounts in a Dec. 2 letter sent to Kevin O’Toole, Port Authority chairman.
That $6.50 discount carpool toll ends in January 2020, when cash tolls are scheduled to increase by $1 to $16 for cars and other passenger vehicles under a toll, fare and fee increasepackage approved by the Port Authority board of commissioners on Sept. 25. That package also rolls back E-Z Pass and PATH Smartlink card discounts.
The FasTrak toll system in California and pilot cashless toll collection systems being tested in Georgia and Massachusetts have the capability to track multiple passengers in a vehicle, the congressmen wrote, asking the Port Authority to investigate and consider the technology.
But Port Authority officials disagreed with their assessment of the technology.
"There is no broadly accepted technology that can accurately and reliably count occupancy in an open-road tolling system,” said Steve Coleman, an authority spokesman. “If reliable technology becomes available in the future, we can revisit the decision to discontinue the carpool discount.”
However, authority officials are willing to meet with the congressman to discuss the issue in more detail, Coleman said.
Gottheimer and Pascrell said some commuters stand to pay $2,000 more annually in tolls without the discount.