By Barrett Seaman –
Sometime during the past two years, you might have crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge (or since October, its replacement, the Mario C. Cuomo Bridge), slipped under the overhead cameras that read license plates and/or mounted EZPass tags but neglected to pay the bill. You’re not alone: hundreds of thousands of people are guilty of the same offense.
Under the current system, if you haven’t paid your toll after 70 days, $5.00 will be added to your bill; after 100 days, the fine will go to $100, plus the original toll. Still not paying? New York State will move to revoke your registration—wherever you are.
As of January 22 and through February 26, the New York Thruway Authority (NYTA) will allow motorists to remit those unpaid tolls without having to pay the additional fines. The amnesty program will cover debts going back to April 24, 2016. The goal is to clear the books of $8 million in total debt–$5.2 million of it in unpaid tolls, with the rest representing subsequent fines.
At a February 17 press conference held at the TA’s Tarrytown offices. Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll described the amnesty program, offered instructions on how to comply, touted the virtues of cashless tolls and EZPass, and unveiled new signage near the bridge toll plaza that has been designed to clarify the billing process, whether through EZPass or the Tolls by Mail system that relies on license plate reading cameras.
To facilitate the amnesty program, the NYTA is launching a new web site, www.thruway.ny.gov/amnesty, that allows motorists to check to see whether their license plates carry any unpaid tolls and fines. If they do, vehicle owners can either pay on the spot using a credit card or print out a coupon to be mailed in along with a check or money order.
Driscoll also stressed the importance of keeping one’s Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) address current. The law requires license holders to register a new address within ten days of a move. That can be done on www.dmv.ny.gov/mydmv.