TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- Toll evaders in Tarrytown and other New York areas are costing local taxpayers millions of dollars every year and State Sen. David Carlucci (D-Ossining/Rockland) wants to do something about it.
Carlucci announced a legislative package Wednesday afternoon at the Tarrytown Toll Plaza overlooking the Tappan Zee Bridge designed to thwart those trying to get a free pass through tolls.
"Right here at this toll plaza, in four years, we've racked up over $7 million in unpaid tolls," he told The Daily Voice. "What does that mean? That means every other law abiding commuter has to foot the bill for them. It's wrong. It's got to stop."
Carlucci plans to introduce a four-point plan at the next legislative session which is scheduled to begin in January:
Streamlining the administrative process. "With the plan, authorities around the state of New York will work with the Department of Motor Vehicles. The Thruway Authority hasn't had the power to go after toll evaders. When we have chronic toll evaders, we want to give them the power to go after them and have their licenses and registration suspended sooner. Right now, it takes up to 18 months to do that."
Enact stiffer penalties. "We want this to be treated like a real crime. In this bill, if a toll evader has more than $1,000 fines, you'll be hit with grand larceny. This is stealing. You're reaching into the pocket of other
hard-working commuters and taking their money."
Increase fines for evasion. "My plan is to double the fine for toll evaders (From $150 to $300). Have that revenue go strictly into a fund to mitigate future toll increases. Increases in tolls has to be the absolute last option. Every stone has to be turned over to find other ways to reduce costs."
Eliminate plate flippers. "There are devices you can buy that shield a license plate that makes a stealth car. Cameras can't take pictures of your license plate. It's wrong. We have to crack down on people who are blatantly breaking the law. People are buying and selling these plate-flipping devices and that has got to end."
Carlucci admitted toll evaders blatantly ignore the letters sent to their homes and are getting away without paying the fines. He hopes his legislative plan will be passed to end a problem that has plagued the taxpayers for quite some time.
"I'm working in a bipartisan fashion," he said. "Democrat and Republican parties need to work together to get this common sense piece of legislation passed. I'm hopeful we'll get it passed quickly in the session. Get it on the governor's desk and sign it into law."