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Port Authority To Allow Cash Customers Through E-ZPass Lanes In Emergencies Like Outerbridge Crossing Debacle

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) - An Easter backup approaching the Outerbridge Crossing has lead to a new policy from the Port Authority.

WCBS 880's Rich Lamb: Everyone Will Be Let Through The E-ZPass Lanes


Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward apologized for the incident and promises the hours-long back-up that occurred on Sunday will never happen again.

"We're going to allow technology to solve this problem, that when traffic levels get to that extraodinary level as we saw on Easter, we're gonna need radio's help to let people know that they are cleared to go through the E-ZPass lanes even if they typically pay cash."

Cameras will capture license plate numbers and those without E-ZPass tags will receive a letter in the mail requesting the $8 toll. There will be no penalties, fees, or fines - simply the toll.

Staten Island New York City Councilman James Oddo was infuriated by the traffic mess, which resulted from only one cash lane being open.

"Who made this decision and when you see that the backup is halfway to Mexico, isn't there a red phone that you can pick up and say 'We have a problem, this has to be addressed?' This wasn't an hour. It wasn't two hours. It wasn't rush hour. It was an all-day event. This is filed under 'galactically stupid'," Oddo said.

The ride over the Goethals Bridge should take only a few minutes, particularly with E-ZPass, but drivers said they were stuck in a traffic jam for up to seven hours Sunday.

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