According to my sources, the Tobin Bridge AET project will include signing advising drivers of both the transponder and bill by mail toll rates.Good to know.
The Henry Hudson Bridge has signs at least 4 miles in advance with 5 exits between the sign and the bridge. The toll is posted on the signs, and represents the pay-by-mail/non-NY E-ZPass rate. NY E-ZPass tagholders are given a special discount, so the "general" rate is the one signed.
This is slightly different than the ICC in Maryland, where the E-ZPass rates are the same regardless of where the transponder is issued, and the pay-by-mail rate is higher. In this case, the signs display the toll rates, but clearly indicate that it is the E-ZPass rate that is signed. The processing fee for the ICC is reasonable: 50% of the toll (so if E-ZPass toll is $1.50, the bill-by-mail toll is $2.25). Florida has signs that state that a processing fee is added, and their fee is reasonable as well (bill-by-mail tolls have a $0.25 markup over SunPass rates, and every month, the statement has a $3 processing fee added for the entire month).
Two more thoughts. The ICC added the pay-by-mail option as a result of the EIS process pushing for it as an environmental justice issue...in otherwords, going transponder-only would disproportionately affect low-income residents. I'm sure FHWA would persue it as an EJ issue if other facilities tried to go transponder only with no way for those without a transponder to use the facility and no nearby alternative. Why they didn't in the case of the Wabash toll bridge is beyond me.
Another thing I wonder about. I wonder what states Indiana DOT has agreements with to collect tolls on their Wabash crossing? Many times, on all-electronic facilities, if you are from very far away, you get a free ride, because they won't bill you, because they don't have lookup arrangements in place and it is too expensive to track you down. Of course, if you make a habit of "free rides" they will then invest the money to track you down for financial reasons. But in the case of the Wabash crossing, if you were from far away and had no idea it was an all-electronic toll bridge, and it was too late to detour 40 miles around it...chances are, they wouldn't even bother trying to collect the toll from you. Plus, I'm sure it is a small enough operation with friendly midwesterners in charge where they would likely be willing to work out an arrangement to pay if the driver takes the initiative to contact the bridge owner. But after that one potentially free trip, you have no more excuse to not get a pass, because you know the bridge is an all electronic transponder only facility.