NYC MTA Touts Toll Program on WNYC

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(Jim O'Grady -- WNYC) The NYC Metropolitan Transportation Authority is spending $13,000 to support  WNYC programming. The language of the so-called underwriting credit tells listeners:

"WNYC is supported by the MTA. This January the gates come off of E-ZPass lanes at the Henry Hudson Bridge.  Gateless tolling is the first step in an MTA pilot program to bring cashless, all-electronic toll collection to the bridge within a year.  More information at m-t-a dot info."

The NY Thruway Authority has already installed gate-less tolling on parts of NY's Thruway upstate, so cars don't have to break their 65 mph speed. Colorado and some other states also have gate-less toll collection that relies on license-plate reading to bill drivers.

Henry Hudson Bridge (photo by litherland - Flickr creative commons)

The Henry Hudson Bridge connects Manhattan and the Bronx.  The plan by the end of the year is

to eliminate ALL cash payments at the bridge and collect tolls only by E-Z Pass or snapping pictures of license plates and sending a bill to drivers.

The MTA says it routinely budgets money for telling the public about changes to service.

The authority has also recently placed placards on subway cars to burnish its image -- though the MTA says the moves are not related.

Advertising buyers frequently say running underwriting credits on public radio endow products and services with a certain cache.

Underwriting announcements on WNYC are required by non-profit rules to be informational only and not promote a product or service.

The MTA is also buying advertising on commercial radio stations and placing ads in two Bronx newspapers, the Riverdale Press and the Riverdale Review.   The total ad buy is about $100,000, including the $13,000 for WNYC.

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