Resolution calling upon the State of New York to collect unpaid vehicle tolls by suspending or preventing the renewal of the registration of vehicles with excessive unpaid E-Z Pass balances, until the tolls due on such accounts are paid.
By NYC Council Members Fidler, Brewer, Cabrera, Mendez, Wills and Ulrich
Whereas, According to the E-Z Pass New York Service Center (Service Center), E-Z Pass is an electronic toll collection system, which takes cash, coins and toll tickets out of the toll collection process; and
Whereas, The Service Center further states that drivers establish an account, prepay tolls and attach a small electronic device to their vehicles, as a result of which tolls are automatically deducted from the prepaid account as an E-Z Pass customer passes through the toll lane; and
Whereas, Drivers who intentionally pass through E-Z Pass toll plazas without paying the requisite toll are essentially allowed a “free ride”, as law abiding citizens subsidize the toll cheaters through ever-increasing and higher tolls to cover the costs of operating roads, bridges and tunnels; and
Whereas, Current remedies for E-Z Pass cheaters, who purposefully and repeatedly drive through E-Z Pass tollbooths without paying, are insufficient to eliminate such behavior; and
Whereas, For example, although a photo is likely taken of the toll-cheater’s license plate, the NYPD rarely arrests such toll-cheaters, and pursuing them through civil 1 litigation costs both time and money; and
Whereas, The New York State Thruway Authority (NYSTA) estimates that in 2010 it lost approximately $3.1 million as a result of motorists driving through E-Z Pass lanes without paying the tolls, which represents a 31 percent increase from 2009, when approximately $2.4 million went uncollected; and
Whereas, Transportation authorities attributed this unfortunate phenomenon to both the poor economy, as well as the move to remove the physical tollgates and install high-speed E-Z Pass lanes, which make it easier for drivers without E-Z Pass to pass through the automated tollbooths; and
Whereas, According to the NYSTA, the number of violations issued rose to nearly 600,000 in 2010, from 554,204 violations in 2009, an increase of approximately 8 percent; and
Whereas, The New York Times has reported that roughly 2 out of 100 cars driving over bridges and tunnels controlled by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2010 didn’t pay, which cost the interstate agency about $6.8 million in uncollected tolls; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls upon the State of New York to collect unpaid vehicle tolls by suspending or preventing the renewal of the registration of vehicles with excessive unpaid E-Z Pass balances, until the tolls due on such accounts are paid.