NJ Toll Cheats May Face Registration, License Suspensions

TRENTON (AP) -

Port Authority officials will ask New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission to suspend the registration privilege of chronic toll violators, similar to what is now done in New York, as the agency moves to cashless toll collection.

The authority is replacing old toll equipment at its bridges and tunnels to possibly go cashless. Under cashless collection, the license plate of vehicles without an E-Z Pass is photographed and the registered owner is sent a bill.

In 2016, the Port Authority made 297 requests to suspend New York vehicle registrations of repeat toll violators who accumulate five separate toll violations over an 18-month period, said Neal Buccino, an authority spokesman. It recovered $112,000 in tolls and fees owed, he said.

“The Port Authority is looking into steps that may be necessary to allow for such an initiative in New Jersey,” Buccino said.

Now, the only agreement that the MVC has is with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to suspend the registration ability of drivers with repeat toll violations.

The motivation behind such agreements is lost money. Buccino estimated that toll evaders cost approximately $31 million in unpaid tolls in 2015. Of that amount, $13 million is owed by New Jersey violators, $11 million from New York drivers and an estimated $7 million by scofflaws from other states.

Toll authorities have brought civil suits against chronic offenders who owe large amount of unpaid tolls and fees. Police also have made highly publicized arrests of drivers caught at toll booths who owe thousands of dollars in back tolls and fines.

New York’s MTA will implement all-electronic tolls this year on various MTA bridges and tunnels.