Below are Survey comments received about the tolls:
***I avoid the Island like the plague, because of the tolls! I use the I-190 only for expedience, which leaves no time for shopping, etc. - too bad.
***My significant other might come more often. I do most of the driving now, partly b/c of the tolls. He uses it as an excuse.
***Where exactly is all of the money going? Don't charge people to access the island unless the fee is needed to maintain the bridges. Otherwise, you are penalizing the island unnecessarily.
***Leave it alone.
***Why so many questions directed to "non-residents? I'm opposed to eliminating them completely. It's like a gated community. If you don't have $1, I don't want you on my Island. Also, centralizing them would just increase through traffic on the side streets as people got off and back on again at another entrance to avoid paying. Finally, Bravo on the survey. Quick and easy way to take the temperature of your constituents. Let's see more on issues relating to **residents** LOL. :)
***Since the three (3) Casinos traffic is growing greatly. As Niagara Falls US and Canada have more events, concerts, etc. it is very bad is summer. The problem exists now and needs to be address ASAP. I am considering moving to Tonawanda because of the bridges.
***The toll collectors are rude, and look so miserable. Most don't even say thank you. They should be replaced with electronica it's 2016.
***I feel that the lack of places to pull over on the bridge if you have a car problem is scary. I have had my car stall twice while going over the bridge, and I could not help but be worried about getting hit by another vehicle...especially a tractor trailer.
***The back up on the bridge is rediculous, there's always a car broken down or work being done that causes many delays. It would be great if there was another bridge built for Grand Island residents. I think it is rediculous that residents have to wait a good 45 minutes just to get home. I don't mind paying the toll as the money goes towards keeping the bridge safe. To go from 6 tolls and merging into two lanes is also a problem as people don't know how to let others merge in etc.
***The grand island bridges have been paid for over and over again. At the very least island residents SHOULD NOT pay tolls. Also it is ridiculous that we have highly paid toll takers - replace all but one with auto tellers ... This will save significant money.
***Tolls hold up traffic especially during rush hour traffic causing horrible driver to tailgate and cut others drivers off especially right before the 190S G.I. bridge nearest to the last exist of the island and the 290 entrance ramp. I am concerned every morning of accidents occurring.
***I don't see paying the tolls as an issue, the money has to come from somewhere to maintain. I am not sure on those couple other toll style options as I am not familiar with them. If they speed up the process, then they should be considered. I believe the real issue Is having only one route on and off the Island causes. I love the idea of increasing commerce on the Island and there by increasing off Island visitors to help support it, but really worry that increased traffic on those bridges will just lead to headaches for residents forced to use those bridges daily.
***Get rid of the booths, and do the electronicoverhead toll collection, or at least 20mph ez pass lanes on the south bridge. Don't get rid of the toll for non-residents, that will only bring more drugs and the theft that come with it.
***Go Nate! We have nothing to lose!
***Delays need to be alleviated
***As a 43 year old resident of GI for the past 41 years, I love the tolls. Nine cents a trip is a small price to pay for the benefits of reducing sprawl, as well as a deterrent to crime (often backed up to me in conversations with police and troopers). Don't let the vocal minority make people think that Islanders do not want the tolls. Most residents I speak with like having the tolls. Although it may have a small negative affect on business, the benefits far outweigh the negatives in my opinion. Thank you for the opportunity to weigh in on this issue.
***would be interested in the amount of revenue from the tolls stay on the island, actually believe it reduces the traffic from Local areas, but GPS surely route over the Island, hopefully it brings business to us
***I lived on grand island for many years. I chose to move because of the traffic caused by the construction on the bridges and the tolls.
***This is a rip off state
***My son in law doesn't want to get a house on the island because of the backup on bridges even though I would be close to help with grand kids so because of that, I can't have my grand kids close.
***It would be nice to have a more streamlined tolling process through the island. My concern with complete elimination of the tolls is that our taxes would increase in order to cover maintenance costs. It's important that citizens know some financial info from the tolls, i.e. how much of the money goes to up keep for these bridges vs. how much goes to other areas of the state. In addition, are there any formal studies that have projected the potential benefits and risks of eliminating the tolls? While no tolls would be nice, I fear an uninformed decision.
***Supposed to have been eliminated twenty years ago.
***The tolls are needed to help with the maintenance of thruway system. The physical placement of the toll plaza needs to be relocated for safety and maintenance issues.
***This Island use to rock, Fantasy Island, Neisner's, Holiday Inn, with restaurants and bar's for all. Rec Center's for kids kid's. No laws about parking on your own grass. We need to get back to Right's..This Island has gone way to Political!! Thanks!
***I lived on the island for 30 yrs, just recently moved off and it's been great not having to deal with bridge traffic for my daily commute. I think traffic is the biggest thing to try and eliminate. The tolls being gone would be great too of course.
***The traffic circle makes me avoid GI Blvd. and all those businesses entirely. It is a nightmare! It's an unsafe nuisance and it needs to go!
***these rolls are just a profit center for the thruway. Raise tolls across NYS instead and stop punishing WNY.
***Live on island 70 +years All the New comers want to fix tolls 9 cents cheap compared to other toll bridges any were !
***The traffic and backups are the biggest downfall for me. I am glad that I get a discount rate and dont have to pay the full amount. If the tolls were removed, we would avoid all the traffic concerns.
***Moving tools on the island could allow for better pass through for ez pass users.
***The bridge tolls were established to pay for the cost of the bridges to be built. Why are they still in place..
***I believe we (Grand Islanders) should have to pay to get home. There is only one road - the I-190 to use.
***Doesn't seem right that residents of the Island should have to PAY to go home. When we moved here almost ten years ago, there were rumors that the toll would be re-considered. Nope, it went up to $1! Well, with the kids grown and the last one going to college this autumn, moving away from here is on the table...and you know what? The tolls are one reason we feel okay about selling the family home and moving elsewhere.
***Bridges should be lite up underneath lol the peace bridge.
***Toll booths are a waste of time and money. They slow down commerce by making people stop and pay. The infrastructure and employees cost taxpayers. By stopping and waiting to pay a toll gas is wasted and unnecessary pollution is created. A small portion of the gasoline tax could be used instead of tolls. Also I want upstate to be a separate entity from downstate.
***It's time to eliminate or at least reduce the cost of the Grand Island tolls. The bridges have been paid for for years and it is inconceivable that the maintenance costs would require a $1.00 toll for non-commuters. Even the reduced rate for commuters and residents is too high.
***Grand island residents should not have to pay to go home!!!!
***something needs to be done during rush hours. we avoid it completely when going to and past the falls by using the lasalle expressway, but it's unavoidable many other times. look at high speed toll collections - such as in indiana. i don't mind the toll - its the traffic!!
***The tolls keep out the riff-raff
***Why waste your time with this. Tolls were suppose to be removed years ago and they never will be!!!
***I used to live on the island and the traffic at the tolls are very dangerous, if we got rid of the tolls the traffic wouldn't be as bad and there wouldn't be as many accidents
***Taking tolls on a major connector, inside the thruway no toll zone of Buffalo seems a bit ridiculous
***In order to get rid of the tolls you will have to jump through hoops upon hoops if it isn't an overwhelmingly positive result to remove them. NYSDOT does not like change unless it increases revenue (which this decreases revenue) or an overwhelming percentage of the populous agrees with the desire. Most of those who live on the Island will not want complete removal but would support changes that ease commute and traffic.
***While I understand the bridges are expensive to maintain, there is enough waste that the tolls are too highly priced. If they can't be eliminated all together, they should be lessened significantly and have more electronic lanes as well as higher speed. Why can we go 20mph on the north end, but not the south end?
***Residents should have to pay
***I worked on the grand lady dinner cruse boat when it was docked at the holiday inn. When owners switched at the hotel they ended up moving the boat over to rich marine. Business has taken off now not that it wasn't doing good on the island. Talking to people that were first time customers you keep hearing the same thing. "I would of came when it was on the island but I didn't want to pay that damn toll"
***I don't care so much about the tolls it's the traffic backup at the south bridges heading north that I have a problem with
***As a resident, I pay high taxes. Since there is so little commerce on the island, (only Dollar stores and pizza shops) it is necessary to use the bridges to shop, attend cultural events and doctor visits. I feel since we are obligated to leave the island regularly, I think the fee should be included in our tax rate.
***Originally the tolls were supposed to be temporary. As far as I know.
***I would like to know how much Americans waste in line for the tolls on gas and pollution byidling and slowing down traffic and causing back ups
***Most of my friends live on the island also. I would drive more with a local E z pass discount.
***A toll is okay but $1 is too high . Go back to $0.10 or $0.25 toll.
***I think removing the tolls completely would be great, however, it seems very unrealistic. Putting in overhead electronic toll collectors, just like many other states have already done, would be an improvement and allow for easier travel.
***1.00 is way too much. Grand Island residents should pay no tolls and have tags that are issued with proof of residency through ez pass.
***The toll is only 9 cents. 30 bucks per year if you go over every day. Hard to complain
***The toll booths were supposed to be removed after bridges were paid for
***The tolls add up after a while, especially for a college student who works part time. 2 dollars a day adds up. Get rid of these tolls.
***Tolls are not a big deal. It's nine cents a trip. The money does go to help maintain the bridges.
***Never take the tolls out
***The residents of Grand Island's biggest fear in 1935 was that the tolls would never be removed. In the early 60's when the tolls were supposed to come down, the state of NY created the thruway authority to collect tolls and build the thruway. The GI bridge tolls were the very first revenue source for the system. They are nothing but a cash cow for Albany now. Take them down!
***The bridges should give our island an added measure of safety and security. I am much more concerned with the Grand Island tax payer funded police force that seems to know exactly who the drug dealers are, and where they sell the drugs, and who buys them, and yet makes few arrests and is notably absent in those areas.
***Yeah the tolls suck. At the very least move them back so you don't have 7 lanes merging into 2 100 feet before the bridge
***During rush hour is the worst time to cross the bridge because no one knows how to merge properly, someone always is cutting someone off just to get one car ahead, and the fire right lane where traffic comes up from river road - everyone in that lane thinks the ezpass lane was made for only them.
***I used to live on the island, and as I understood it, the tolls were initially installed as a temporary structure until the bridges were paid for.
***Keep the bridges in place. I don't mind paying the 9 cents as a resident or the occasional traffic delay. I think it keeps a lot of unwanted visitors from coming to the island and keeps the crime rate down.
***I travel from Kenmore to Niagara Falls 5 days a week. I drive around the Island because driving back n forth over the island would cost me $40 a month. Quite often there is way too much traffic and I have been stranded in the island because if an accident or toad work. The road work seems to be year round for way too long.
***To pay $1 to sit in 20min worth if traffic? Lol sounds crazy huh....
***Without stopping for the tolls there would be little to no back up even at peak times.
***As a life long resident the most frequent complaint from non islanders is the bridge. Many young colleagues looking for housing avoid GI because of bridge traffic perception. It may be prudent to move the tolls back closer to 290 and convert to electronic. The electronic automatic toll is a no brainier. Cheaper long term for state as well. Using coinage is outdated and inefficient.
***The health of the bridges themselves!
***As residents, the Thu-way Commission has us by the throat. We are stuck paying whatever they decide to raise the tolls too because we live here. They have removed the EZ Pass office from the Island as well, causing additional burdens to attempt to get services. Any type of accident, construction (which seems to be constant) or severe weather causes miles of backup - the whole length of the 190 across the Island needs to be widened to three lanes and a third bridge needs to be built a the south end.
***There has to be a better way to keep traffic flowing. The bottlenecks at the tolls are a huge headache. There also needs to be a solution to the weekly accidents on the bridges and a way to ease congestion. There should not be backups that span the entire GI portion of the 190 because of a simple fender bender.
***Grand island residents have been paying this toll for to long. If you have lived on the island for a year or more we should get a pass like the ez pass only ita free.
***Unfairly taxed for living on island.
***It's nice that GI residents get a break on the bridge tolls through EZ Pass; but it doesn't seem fair that these toll routes are the ONLY way to access your own home. It's bad enough that there is only one way to go to/from Grand Island; but tolls make it worse.
***Another penny protest!
***Can create hazardous driving
***Easy pass still won't give me my resident discount. It's been one year.
***The bridges cause obvious traffic issues. Idling of cars and trucks ESP the northbound south GI bridge adds to pollution and global warming
***Add another ezpass lane
***The tolls should have been eliminated decades ago.
***Moving tolls to the middle of the island would sharply decrease revenue. I don't think tolls are the problem. There is too much traffic getting off the island in the morning, which has nothing to do with tolls.
***Speed u tolls during the summers
***For number 7, I live on the island so it's a mute point.
***Island residents should NOT have to pay a toll to live here....how stupid is that???
***Wish there were multiple answer options for the questions. Some were a combination of choices.
***First and foremost, tolls should be eliminated for Grand Island residents! It is past due that residents should not be charged to go to their homes, in which we already pay taxes on. The 9 cent toll for residents, although a reduced fee, is a complete joke, and nothing more than a disguised tax on Grand Island residents in which NYSTA calls a "reduced resident toll". They know we have no option and no choice other than to pay the fee to go home.
Second, move the tolls away from the bottom of the bridges to somewhere after the bridges, as its current location has proven to repeatedly cause bottlenecks and delays, and in addition is a contributing factor in causing many accidents during traffic back-ups and very importantly would allow quicker emergency response times for first responders to the Island. Install 2 manned toll booths for those without EZ Pass in the far right lane somewhere after the bridge and in the left lane(s) utilize high speed EZ Pass for those with EZ Pass and LPR's (license plate reader cameras) for those who attempt to evade the toll or attempt to utilize the high speed lanes without an EZ Pass.
Third, Charge tolls for non-residents only. By eliminating most of the outdated and expensive toll booths via utilizing technologies described previously, this alone would significantly reduce traffic delays along with the reduction of harmful emissions caused by many slow moving or stopped vehicles during peak traffic times. Let us not forget the wasted gas and wear and tear on our vehicles it costs us all as well, depleting our natural resources. The cost savings that would result from removing the majority of the booths, no longer having to maintain, power, heat, etc., these toll plazas would offset the cost of not charging Grand Island Residents. It is understood that a few NYSTA workers positions would be eliminated, but we cannot continue to burden the residents of the Island with an added tax (toll) to go to their homes.
Myself and all residents call upon you to eliminate the toll for residents.
***Theg should have been removed a long time ago like promised or residents should NOT be paying at all
***The bridge is extremely annoying and expensive. Manhattan is the only other town in America that charges admission the way Grand Island does.
***Eliminate Tolls for GI residents
***semi's and buses bully their way into the ezpass only lanes even though ezpass is accepted in all lanes. also drivers hold up traffic to get into the ezpass only lanes thinking they have to use them because they have ezpass, especially at the right lane on the south bridge.
***Grand Island and its taxpayers and the county should be responsible for the bridge upkeep.
***Eliminating the tolls? As if that would ever happen. What a joke. NYS Thruway Authority would never allow that to happen.
***My deceased husband used to work for the Thruway Authority. He informed me that the tolls were used for maintenance. Anyone who pays the tolls contributes. I would hate to see taxes raised to replace the tolls. I would favor tolls being eliminated if taxes were not raised and maintenance continued in the same quality it is currently.
***The toll booths as they are hold up traffic and are very unsafe.
***NYS has been extorting monies from GI residences for too long and it is time for change.
***Horrible design- 5 toll lanes merging into 2.. No wonder it's always backed up.
***Why is this toll so much more expensive than others?
***Eliminating the tolls would help with less traffic congestion and probably fewer accidents.
***My family would come visit us more if the tolls were elimated
***It's frustrating that residents don't have an exempt toll read for the bridges. There's no reason the folks who live here should be paying. Keep the tolls, but ez-pass should scan and not charge us.
***Just take the barriers off the bridges so the traffic flows better and less pollution from sitting vehicles
***Residents should not have to pay anything to go home, further, we should not have to have an easypass to get the discount, our drivers license should be proof enough!!!
***Any other besides blue?
***I don't mind paying the toll as a resident it is very reasonably priced. However don't inconvenience me with traffic that is caused by the tolls. Upgrade and change the system in collecting.
***The bridges are not wide enough to support the morning/evening commute any longer. This compounded by accidents or bad weather southbound causes headaches in the AMs. Returning in the PM there is a funnel effect that I don't believe could eliminated by the tolls. I believe we need more lanes on the bridges, which does not seem economically feasible....
***At the very least, provide more ez-pass lanes, which I know is really only focused on residents (which I am one).
***Great ideas! if tolls are moved; move them just after the first exit in each direction. Delay than people will travel though the island.
***Floridas system of the overhead tolls collection , and only stopping of you are paying cash seems to help work the traffic issue.
***Overhead toll collectors would certainly speed things up. I do feel whether or not tolls are eliminated or made more streamlined and efficient, tolls should absolutely be eliminated completely for GI residents. Also, since we are forced into using EZPASS to live here or pay $1 if we choose not to use EZPASS we could at least be provided with a local EZPASS office.
***Why would you frustrate your patrons with waiting in traffic to go over something that should nt have a toll to begin with
***As a life long resident I don't mind paying reasonable toll fees...but I hate having to sit behind lines of traffic because there are limited lanes open sometimes especially in the summer when it's busier..
***1) Will the presumed increased traffic on the bridges lead to increased wear and tear? 2) If people are concerned about lack of tracking of cars entering the island once the tolls come down, could we install license plate readers or cameras at the bridges to scare off potential criminals / instill a feeling of warm fuzzies for residents?
***I think residents who have no options of an alternative route home should not have to pay a bridge toll.
***If the upkeep of the bridge would suffer I would choose a central toll plaza in the middle of the island
***Why continue to frustrate tax payers with delays. I'd rather see a toll tax for NY
***islanders have to use the bridges , others have alternate ways... It should've be tool free for residents
***As someone that owns a business on the Island, when we try to get our friends & family to stop at our office, the first thing people say is - "I hate the traffic at the bridges". We don't even advertise off the Island because getting people onto the Island is the biggest obstacle for business - people from off the Island don't want to deal with the traffic at the bridges.
***Free for residents
*** As a native Grand Islander, my whole life, I have not been able to leave Grand Island and not have to pay to go back home.
If we leave Grand Island for any reason we either have to pay to go home,or swim!that is pretty much extortion! At least the residents of Grand Island should not have to pay one cent to go home!
The residents of Grand Island were told when they built the bridges that once they were paid for, there would be no more tolls!
Our ez-pass should allow us a free pass at the least!
***They were suppose to be lifted when the bridges were paid for...that never happened. Heard that over fifty years ago....
***the construction every year is ridiculous... .if they need that much work why not just build new ones already
***I also like the idea of relocating the tolls. That would give commuters a chance to get off an exit and drive down Grand Island Blvd. this could mean more business for Island companies.
***Please make a fast lane for residents that can avoid tolls altogether to speed up traffic getting on the bridge at afternoon rush hr getting onto the island.
***As a resident we shouldn't have to pay just to go home. We are the only people in WNY that has to pay, no matter what, to get home. Why? While it is a lower rate, I still have to go through the trouble to deal with EZpass. Not only that, but family refuses to come see us at our home because of the tolls. Traffic is always backed up on the bridges because of the toll locations. There is no need for the toll any longer.
***Keeps trash off the island
***The toll plazas current location at the feet of the bridges are a terrible design that are the root of almost all delays and congestion when entering or exiting the Island. A simple move to the center of the island coupled with updated plazas that incorporate high speed overhead lanes and "pull off" traditional pay lanes would almost completely eliminate current issues.
***Traffic doesn't flow freely during peak times, as people slow down, fan out amongst the tolls, and then try to quickly merge back on. And the tolls aren't fair as you have no choice to cross when you live on the island. There is no highway system going around the island, so the only alternative is to force people to pay to an organization that reports to itself.
***At least GI residents should get free tolls.
***My understanding is that the original agreement to have tolls was to pay for the bridges. As mentioned elsewhere, this has been done many times over. The tolls are now yet ANOTHER form of 'hidden' tax that the NY State politicians are so clever in creating!
***The tolls cause the backups. As a bussiness owner people are less likely to come to the island because of the backups
***Traffic backup is ridiculous at times
***Relocation of the toll Island to an area between Bedell Rd and Long Rd would allow Islanders to commute without paying but more importantly, it would allow those looking to shop on the Island the ability to do so without paying. However, I would increase traffic signals along the Blvd to slow down traffic and discourage those not wanting to pay by increasing crossing times.
***I'd love to learn more about this project if there are anymore details. email@example.com
***One of the main problems on the bridges is that once people go through the tolls they dont know how to merge back into two lanes and only go 25-30 over the bridge.
***I hate the tolls
***I feel as though I am being punished for living on Grand Island. It took me 6 months to get ahold of ezpass after sending them my registration proving I am an Island resident so I don't have to pay $1.00 every time I go over the bridge. I still pay $0.20 every time I go over the bridge.
***I think we need a better system in place for Grand Island residents. Paying a $1.00 every time I travel off the Island is a shame. I miss the old ticket books. We can have EZPass if we had an office locally still; however, with no office we should have the option to buy the ticket books to pay the discounted rates for Grand Island residents. Thank you.
***We have had several customers that were deterred from staying on the island because of the tolls. I realize it's just $1 but it adds up. The days I use my alternate vehicle without my ez pass is a burden. I recently got my ez pass suspended for six weeksfor what they considered to be a violation, there was no disbute process, guilty with no opportunity to prove innocence. I was also charged for the auto deduct for the period of the suspension so it cost me the monthly charge as well as the dollar. Thank you for mentioning the fact that the money for the tolls doesn't even stay here. That is important information when making an intelligent decision about the tolls. The smell of gas entering the south bridge from the noco factoryis disgusting and embarrassing to our community not to mention it can't be too healthy.
***Moving the toll boths to the center of the island will not fix the problem, simply relocates it. The secondary issue would be traffic on GI Blvd as traffic exited to go around the toll booths.
***Please do not put the tolls in the middle of the island. That is about the worst idea I have ever heard.