Port Authority issues thousands of summonses for toll evaders

All the Port Authority crossings have been cashless since mid-December. The agency says that a plan was put in place before this change to deal with toll evasion.

Matt Trapani and Samantha Liebman

May 3, 2023, 2:34 AM

Updated 441 days ago

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The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says that just because there is no toll booth, doesn’t mean one can skip out on paying the toll. The agency has the summonses to prove it.
All the Port Authority crossings have been cashless since mid-December. The agency says that a plan was put in place before this change to deal with toll evasion. This has led to more than 4,000 summonses being issued last year.
The Port Authority sends bills to those who don’t pay their tolls by mail. This happened to Mikey Gorman.
“If I didn’t have the E-ZPass, they’d send me the bills to my house. They’d send them relentlessly,” he says.
But some drivers choose not to pay. The Port Authority says it has issued nearly 4,700 summonses to chronic toll evaders. About 2,300 of those summonses were for phony, missing or obstructed license plates. Another 775 vehicles were impounded for either suspended registrations due to outstanding tolls or vehicles that were never registered to begin with.
The agency says that police patrols have been increased at the crossings. Those officers are equipped with license plate readers and other technology to help them stop chronic offenders.
Driver Randy Cruz says that the better tech and enforcement have led to him receiving nearly $1,500 in toll violations, even though he has an E-ZPass account in good standing.
“I miss having an actual toll worker at the toll because I knew my toll was getting recorded properly. Unfortunately, times are changing in technology and electronics. But sometimes it’s not the most positive change,” Cruz says.
The Port Authority is urging drivers who don’t have E-ZPass to get it because drivers get a significant discount at the tolls. And the revenue is for the greater good, according to Port Authority executive director Rick Cotton.
“Revenue collected by toll enforcement funds critical safety and maintenance projects at the agency’s facilities that benefit all customers…failure to pay your tolls and incurring penalties is far more expensive than paying tolls when they are due,” Cotton wrote in a statement.
Officials say that the 4,700 summonses only account for a fraction of the traffic that uses the Port Authority crossings. More than 120 million vehicles went through the tolls in 2022 – 89% use E-ZPass. The agency did not disclose how many violators have not been caught.


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