The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced it is fighting back against drivers using fake or obstructed license plates to skip bridge and tunnel toll charges, a practice that reportedly cost the transit agency nearly $50 million last year alone. Preventing toll evaders will become increasingly important as the agency plans to impose a $15 congestion pricing fee to enter Manhattan’s central business district during peak hours, likely starting in mid-June.

“This is about fairness,” said Cathy Sheridan, head of MTA’s bridges and tunnels. “The message is clear: If you intentionally conceal your plate or display fraudulent plates, we’re going to find you, your vehicle will be seized and you will pay the consequences. These are drivers who are intentionally stealing from the rest of us.”

MTA’s crossings include the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (formerly the Triborough Bridge) – which connects Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx – the Queens Midtown Tunnel and the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel (formerly the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel), which runs between Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Sheridan noted that unbillable transactions due to unregistered vehicles and obstructed and fraudulent license plates have more than doubled in the past four years. The MTA is seeking to prohibit the sale of plate covering devices, and is stepping up enforcement. State lawmakers are also working on legislation to increase fines and also allow police to arrest drivers using such contraptions.

Source: Crain’s New York Business

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