New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a plan to revamp New York City’s bridges and tunnels, including equipping 10 bridges and tunnels leading into the city with facial recognition and license plate reading technology.
According to a release by the MTA, "New York is increasingly a target of threats to security. In recognition of this threat, the New York Crossings Project will integrate emerging technologies into the security design of bridges and tunnels across the state, deploying additional personnel and equipment. At each crossing, and at structurally sensitive points on bridges and tunnels, advanced cameras and sensors will be installed to read license plates and test emerging facial recognition software and equipment. These technologies will be applied across airports and transit hubs – including the Penn-Farley Complex – to ultimately develop one system-wide plan."
MTA said that anti-terrorism teams will be combined with traffic enforcement at crossings and will develop new operating protocols across agencies. Approximately 525 TBTA officers will provide security and traffic management at bridges and tunnels and will collaborate with State Police on toll enforcement; 150 members of State Police Troop NYC will be assigned at crossings to handle security and anti-terror activities; and 150 National Guardsmen will reinforce troopers on security and anti-terror initiatives. Special barricade trucks will be positioned at both ends of each crossing to serve as intercept vehicles and mobile barriers in the event of an emergency.
The plan will also include tunnels with new barriers installed to block floodwater from entering with water-tight barriers to protect the tunnel and its facilities. Additionally, tunnels will have increased submersible pumping capacity to protect against flooding.
Senator Joseph Robach, Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee said, "New York's bridges and tunnels are used by millions of people each year and essential to our entire region's economic success. Governor Cuomo has put forward a plan to reimagine our transportation system for the 21st century and it will result in less traffic, increased capacity, and more durability to withstand natural disasters. This project is a win-win for New York and its residents, and I can’t wait to see it move forward in the months to come.”