Albany, NY - January 18, 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a new regulation to take action against repeat toll violators and strengthen penalties against motorists for evading toll fees. Effective today, the regulation permits the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend the registration of motorists who fail to pay three or more toll violations within a five year period, or fail to pay $200 or more in tolls within a five year period for commercial vehicles.
“Toll evaders flaunt the law and do so on the backs of hard working New Yorkers who play by the rules,” Governor Cuomo said. “This action provides new tools to ensure these scofflaws pay their fair share, as well as support new automatic tolling initiatives that will decrease congestion and modernize New York's transportation system."
This new regulation, a direct result of the expansion of open-road, automatic tolling, will apply to all New York tolling authorities, including the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the New York State Thruway Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the New York State Bridge Authority. Repeat toll violators will be required to pay outstanding tolls and fees in order to have charges dismissed, prevent the suspension of a vehicle registration, or have a suspended registration reinstated.
Previously, DMV regulation only allowed for suspension of a vehicle’s registration when a toll violator avoided five or more toll payments within an 18-month window. The new regulation further expands DMV’s ability to pursue toll evaders by allowing for suspension after three toll violations or failure to pay $200 or more in tolls for commercial vehicles with a five year lookback period.
Tolling authorities will send violators notices for each toll violation, advising them of the amount owed, how to pay, and how to dispute the alleged violation. If the violator fails to pay the tolls, fees or other charges, or have such tolls, fees or charges dismissed in response to the multiple notices, the tolling authority will refer the violator to DMV for further action.
Prior to a registration suspension, vehicle owners may request a hearing before a DMV administrative law judge. If the registrant requests a hearing, the suspension will not take effect, pending the conclusion of the hearing; if no hearing is requested, the suspension will take effect as declared in the notice, and the registration suspension will remain in effect until the tolling authority notifies DMV that the motorist has paid the outstanding tolls, fees, and other charges.
In December 2016, the Governor first announced a proposal to strengthen this regulation as part of a comprehensive plan to make open-road, cashless tolling a reality on toll bridges and tunnels by the end of 2017. This plan also includes new, state-of-the-art systems installed at each MTA facility that will read the license plate of every vehicle, and within seconds alert Troopers and MTA bridge and tunnel officers if a vehicle has a suspended registration. In addition, 150 State Troopers will be stationed at all major crossings, including MTA-owned bridges and tunnels to enhance security, bolster counter-terrorism efforts and hold toll violators accountable.
Earlier this month, high-speed tolling began at the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel and Queens Midtown Tunnel as part of the Governor’s initiative to reimagine New York crossings for the 21st century. The schedule for all other bridges transitioning to open-road tolling is as follows:
- Rockaway Bridges – Spring 2017
- RFK Bridge – Summer 2017
- Verrazano-Narrows Bridge – Summer 2017
- Throgs Neck Bridge – Fall 2017
- Bronx-Whitestone Bridge – Fall 2017
Thruway customers can stop at a participating location and purchase a prepackaged E-ZPass On-The-Go tag for $25. Once a customer registers their On-The-Go tag, the full $25 is credited to their account, and the tag becomes active in 24 hours. E-ZPass customers save an additional five percent off the cash toll rate each time they travel the Thruway and may be eligible for additional toll discounts, depending on their travel, vehicle or residence. To apply to become an E-ZPass On-The-Go retailer, click here.
For additional information on cashless tolling and E-ZPass, please visit MTA.info/cashless or call 1-800-333-TOLL (8655).
New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “These tougher regulations show that those who abuse our systems and break our laws will be held accountable. Traffic safety is a top priority for the New York State Police, we work each day to make the Thruway a safe road to travel, and there will be consequences for those caught breaking our vehicle and traffic laws or refusing to pay their fair share.”
DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan said, “Governor Cuomo’s commitment to modernizing New York’s infrastructure is having far reaching effects on our economy and the roads we travel on. Open road tolling will change the way we travel in New York for the better, and a solid infrastructure is needed to protect travelers who consistently pay their fair share. With the Governor’s support, DMV now has even stronger infrastructure in place to ensure that people who consistently violate tolling regulations are held accountable for their actions.”
Thruway Authority Acting Executive Director Bill Finch said, “As a user-fee supported highway system, ensuring that motorists who drive on our roadway pay their fair share is critical to the maintenance and functionality of the Thruway. Governor Cuomo has once again demonstrated his commitment to New York’s critical infrastructure, and this strengthened regulation will help safeguard our mission of providing safe and reliable passage for Thruway travelers.”
MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said, “As we transition to cashless tolling, we must ensure that all users of MTA Bridges and Tunnels facilities pay their fair share. This new regulation and enforcement measure sends a strong message to those chronic toll scofflaws, that there are serious consequences for repeatedly evading toll payment.”
Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye said, "This tougher new regulation will help ensure that following the law and paying the tolls is far more affordable in the long run than being a persistent toll deadbeat. The majority of law-abiding motorists should not have to shoulder the burden of those who repeatedly refuse to pay their fair share.”
For more information about DMV, visit dmv.ny.gov.