New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a series of proposals in Jan. to limit fare and toll evasions and ensure that everyone using public infrastructure pays their fair share. Since 2017, the state has utilized open road toll collection, enabling an easier flow of traffic on major bridges, tunnels, and highways. Since implementation, the incidence of defaced or obstructed license plates significantly increased, with more than 5% of license plates going unread. Additionally, fare evasion on subways, buses and railroads has significantly increased, with the MTA estimating an annual toll and fare evasion loss of more than $700 million per year.

Gov. Hochul’s plan includes the following:

  • Increasing fines for fare evasion and purposeful license plate defacement
  • Increasing toll enforcement activities and banning the sale of “vanish plates”
  • Allowing police to seize license plate covers meant to make plates unreadable
  • Designating intentional toll evasion as a theft-of-services misdemeanor

Governor Hochul’s plan is also meant to ensure equitable enforcement by calling for the following reforms:

  • Allowing police officers to issue written warnings instead of summonses for first time fare evasion offenders
  • Permitting the MTA to allow first-time offenders to have their fine forgiven if they enroll in the Fair Fares program
  • Enabling the MTA to refund up to 50% of the first fine – if paid on-time – to the customer via a fare card
  • Granting the MTA the same authority to enforce fare evasion on commuter railroads

The Governor’s proposals align with recommendations from the Blue-Ribbon Panel convened by the MTA to study fare and toll evasion, which issued its report in 2023.

Source: Gov. Kathy Hochul

Article by Black Car News

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