'If you break the law, we will catch you.' Port Authority officials say they will aggressively go after toll evaders
Toll cheaters at Hudson River crossings are still trying to keep from paying their fair share. But if you don’t pay, there’s a good chance the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will find you and collect.
The Port Authority recovered $25 million from those who tried to avoid paying to drive across or under the Hudson River in 2023.
Robin Bramwell-Stewart, the deputy director of Bridges and Tunnels of the Port Authority, says those who don’t pay tolls at tunnels and bridges are breaking the law.
Bramwell-Stewart says some drivers attempt to remove license plates or cover their plates with objects so that toll readers can’t identify the driver that is supposed to be billed.
“We see about less than 2% of our total transactions are what we call unbillable,” Bramwell-Stewart says. “If you break the law, we’ll catch you. This is an issue of fairness for all of us traveling who are paying our tolls.”
Drivers outside the Holland Tunnel tell News 12 New Jersey that they’ve seen the bogus license plates. Michael Rodriguez lives in Bayonne but is in New York City five days a week.
“I see it all the time on the highway or going through this tunnel here,” Rodriguez says. “I even saw one where he flipped his thing over.”
To catch these drivers in the act, police officers with license plate readers are scanning vehicles. Those caught will face a $300 fine and under a new law in New Jersey, a violator could lose their registration.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is pitching a law that will mandate jail time for drivers who cheat the system out of $1,000 or more in tolls.
The Port Authority is aggressive in going after those drivers who don’t pay. Officials say they will enlist collection agencies and have attorneys going after people for civil judgments in court if necessary.