High speed cashless tolling on the New York State Thruway could do more than help the environment. Removing toll barriers could also help boost economic development across the region.
Along with reducing smog from idling vehicles waiting in line to pay tolls - Buffalo Niagara International Trade Gateway Organization, Executive Director Craig Turner said, electronic tolling would save truck drivers and others in the logistics industry lots of time.
"Time is money in logistics. And as you're competing against a global market, and you're trying to cut pennies off of the cost of your product, the faster you can get your trucks to where they need to be the less it's going to cost you," Turner said.
Along with truckers, the logistics industry includes raw material suppliers, manufacturers, warehouse operators and customs brokers. Turner said replacing the Williamsville and Lackawanna toll barriers with an open-road cashless system has been on the organization's agenda for some time.
"Having to stop at the toll barriers doesn't seem like much when you're there for an extra 90-seconds going through or what ever it takes. To all of us driving through, 90-seconds sometimes doesn't seem like a big deal. But to a truck on its way with a driver who's counting his hours of service, if we can take care of this we make our region that much more competitive," Turner said.
Lowering costs, he said, would help attract new businesses to Western New York and make the area more attractive to companies looking to do business in Canada.