PHOTO: Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week announced tougher toll-violation enforcement at MTA bridges and tunnels. Photo Courtesy of Oscar Gonzalez/Metropolitan Transportation Authority
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority this week voted in favor of strengthening toll-evasion enforcement at its seven bridges and two tunnels in the city.
The plan aligns with a proposed state Department of Motor Vehicles regulation to suspend the registrations of vehicles that repeatedly evade payment on tolls at the Robert F. Kennedy, Throgs Neck, Verrazano-Narrows, Bronx-Whitestone, Henry Hudson, Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial, and Cross Bay Veterans Memorial bridges; and the Hugh L. Carey and Queens Midtown tunnels.
“More than 800,000 vehicles use our bridges and tunnels on an average weekday, and our customers have the right to expect that they all pay the proper toll,” said Donald Spero, acting president of MTA Bridges and Tunnels. “As more of our customers rely on E-ZPass and our Rockaways crossings move to all-electronic tolling, stronger enforcement of our toll policies will benefit every motorist at our bridges and tunnels.”
Last month, the DMV proposed a new regulation to permit suspending the registration of vehicles after their owners fail to pay five tolls, fees or other charges resulting from violations on different days within a period of 18 months, and ignore repeated notices to remedy the unpaid charges. Persistent violators will be required to pay the tolls and fees, or have the charges dismissed, in order to prevent the suspension of their registrations or to have their registrations reinstated. A 45-day public comment period on this proposed regulation ends Jan. 4, 2016. All comments received will be taken into consideration before the regulations are formally adopted and implemented in April 2016, according to the MTA.
Bridges and Tunnels imposes a $50 administrative fee per violation for vehicle owners who fail to pay tolls through E-ZPass or via mailed invoices. Motorists who fail to pay are subject to the fee, plus the full undiscounted toll of the crossing. The proposal before the Board on Wednesday provides procedures and information in violation notices for disputing toll violation and grounds for dismissal; the process for vehicle rental and leasing companies to transfer responsibility to renters and lessees; and warnings that violators may have their vehicle registrations suspended by the state.
“New York’s transportation network relies on drivers paying their fair share and those who evade tolls put an unfair burden on other law-abiding motorists,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “This ramped up enforcement sends the message that these actions will not be tolerated and will keep those who ignore their responsibilities off our roadways.”
By Michael V. Cusenza firstname.lastname@example.org