Not paying tolls can be costly

By Philip Newman

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has warned motorists who evade highway tolls that they could ultimately face suspension of their driver’s registration if they do not pay up.

New York state toll agencies said they are owed around $16 million a year in unpaid tolls.

“We are sending a clear message that New York will not tolerate toll violators,” Cuomo said.

“For far too long, these scofflaws have skirted their responsibility of helping maintain the state’s transportation network and placed the burden on the backs of law-abiding motorists,” he said. “With this regulation adopted we can now ensure that those who travel in New York state pay their fair share.”

The regulation allows the state Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend the registration of motorists who fail to pay five tolls, fees and other charges resulting from violations on different days, within a period of 18 months and ignore toll authorities’ repeated notices.

The regulation has taken immediate effect and was first proposed by the Motor Vehicle Department in November 2015.

The New York State Thruway Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the New York State Bridge Authority and MTA Bridges said non-payment of tolls, even with violation notices being sent out, is a “persistent challenge.”

The governor’s office said the toll agencies reported that within a 18-month period these authorities found nearly 35,000 cases where violators accrued five or more unpaid toll violations resulting in $16.5 million in lost revenue annually.

Violators will be required to pay the tolls and fees or have the charges dismissd in order to prevent the suspension of their registrations or for their registrations to be reinstated.

Tolling authorities will send violators notices for each violation If the violator fails to pay the tolls, fees or other charges or has such tolls fees, or charges dismissed or transferred in response to multiple notices, the tolling authority will refer the violator to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Before any suspension, the registrant may request a hearing before a Department of Motor Vehicles administrative law judge.