MTA seizes cars of 2 drivers owing more than $100,000 in unpaid Verrazzano tolls

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Friday, June 10, 2022
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Two drivers who apparently thought the toll on the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge is too high had their cars confiscated for extreme toll evasion.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Two drivers who apparently thought the toll on the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge is too high had their cars confiscated in the past two days by the MTA for what the agency is calling extreme toll evasion.

One car, seized Thursday, reportedly had 624 outstanding toll violations over the past two years.

Authorities say the driver owed $68,000 in outstanding tolls and fine.

The second driver, whose car was seized overnight, is said to have 447 violations and owes $47,000.

The MTA said officers discovered a large stack of dozens of unpaid toll bills in the glove compartment.

They also discovered the driver had eight E-Z Pass accounts, seven in New York and one in New Jersey.

At any given time, there are upwards of 15,000 motorists rolling across the bridges and through the tunnels who never pay their tolls. What they may not know is that law enforcement knows exactly who they are -- and they're being watched.

"I'm notified on my license plate reader that the vehicle is traversing the facility, and in which direction," Triboro Bridge and Tunnel Police Officer Jason Vazquez said.

Vasquez patrols the Verrazanno Bridge for the MTA.

"You get motorists that are very agitated," he said. "Obviously, they're being pulled out of their vehicle at that point. Sometimes there's inclement weather or what have you, or they're traveling with family. Nobody wants to give up their vehicle."

Bridge and Tunnel officers have recovered more than 90% of all unpaid tolls since 2017, when Open Road Tolling was introduced. That amounts to $44 million.

The overhead readers record E-Z Pass tags and license plates, and when a car with unpaid tolls passes, patrol officers are notified in real time so they can make a traffic stop.

Officers are always on the lookout for the worst offenders. Dan DeCrescenzo is president of MTA Bridges and Tunnels.

"If you don't pay your toll, we will find you eventually, and we will take your car," he said. "We did it over 6,200 times in the last five years...We're always chasing the money, because those persistent toll violators. We know who you are, and the last couple of days is proof."

Officers cannot catch all of them in a single day, but motorists with unpaid tolls are in the system -- and eventually, every one of them will have to pay up.

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