NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- MTA and law enforcement agencies announced Friday that they are cracking down on motorists who use fake, obscured, or covered license plates to avoid paying tolls.
The collaborative effort aims to combat deliberate attempts to prevent tolling cameras from identifying license plates through increased enforcement and by sharing information and best practices to identify bad actors on the road.
The coordinated law enforcement effort aims to not only crack down on the evasion of tolls through forged or obstructed license plates, but to curtail motorists who use similar deceptive tactics to hide more serious crimes and to evade speed and red-light cameras across the region.
MTA Bridges and Tunnel officers and New York State Police officers pulled over more than 1,300 vehicles in 2021 for persistent non-payment of tolls.
Officers will take possession of the vehicle and take the driver to a safe location off the bridge or out of the tunnel, where arrangements can be made for alternative transportation.
Through this process, MTA Bridges and Tunnels has recovered 93% of all tolls owed by recidivist toll scofflaws whose New York registrations were suspended.
That equals $43 million since toll booths were decommissioned in 2017, and MTA is pursuing the remainder.
"People who evade paying tolls on MTA bridges and tunnels are ripping off millions of New Yorkers who play by the rules," MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber said. "Toll-dodging drivers cost the MTA an estimated $50 million every year - funding that could be reinvested in modernizing the transit system and our shared infrastructure. We're working with city and state law enforcement agencies to crack down and make sure these selfish drivers pay."
Since the MTA converted to cashless tolling, more than 36,000 summonses have been issued for fake, covered, and obstructed license plates.