The board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), a group which has no representation from the motoring public. A group, whose notorious mismanagement and wastefulness has pushed the transit agency to the verge of financial ruin, approved a toll hike on all its crossings. The toll hike equates to an average increase of 7 percent on all vehicles and will take effect in April. The MTA had originally proposed a series of fare and toll hikes in December of 2020. The board opted to delay the fare hikes after hearing concerns that they would impact the City’s essential workers. A reasonable claim nullified by the tax hike they voted to impose on the essential workers who drive trucks. The approved toll schedule is available here.
Raising tolls at a time of financial hardship is egregious enough, but the MTA felt the need to twist the knife as well. For the first time, the MTA will penalize customers who are enrolled in the E-ZPass program but don’t have their tags properly mounted when they cross a bridge or tunnel. The new mid-tier toll rate will charge drivers $8.36 for major crossings.
Since cashless tolls made their New York debut motorists have reported a wide range of problems from excessive, non-negotiable late penalties many times that of the original tolls, not receiving notices, registration suspensions, and refusal of the agencies to offer payment plans. Twice the State Legislators tried to rectify some of the problems with cashless tolling by passing the Toll Payer Protection Act and twice Governor Cuomo vetoed the legislation. This is how New York State pays its bills, through excessive fines and fees. Neither localities nor agencies care how many lives and businesses get ruined through their regressive policies.
As for motorists that do not have E-ZPass, they have no way of checking to see if they have an outstanding balance or are subject to violations. The E-ZPass website does not permit searches for open tolls by license plate. Then, if a motorist learns there are violations there are no opportunities to review the substance of the claim or demand a hearing, a denial of our constitutionally protected right to due process! Not to mention, three unpaid violations or for commercial vehicle owners with $200 or more in unpaid tolls and violation fees within a period of five years will trigger a suspension of the vehicle’s registration.
But wait! The MTA is not done bleeding people and businesses dry! They are still pushing for their Midtown debt scheme known as congestion pricing. The massive fees imposed on trucks who helped keep New York City alive during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic is insulting and considering that every tax on trucking is also a tax on the consumer, shortsighted.