The state Thruway Authority is considering a 45 percent toll increase on trucks at the same time more than 1 million drivers between 2007 and 2011 avoided paying tolls and dodged $35 million in charges and fines, Gannett’s Albany Bureau reports.
Records reviewed through a Freedom of Information request show that the beleaguered Thruway Authority’s finances have been hurt by its inability to recoup tolls and fines from people who zip through EZ-Pass lanes scot-free.
Of the $35 million in uncollected tolls and fines since 2007, $7 million has been recouped through a credit agency, the Thruway said.
The biggest trouble spot is the Tappan Zee Bridge, records show. Between 2007 and 2011, nearly 80,000 passenger vehicles and trucks didn’t pay the $5 roundtrip toll when they crossed the Hudson Valley bridge between Westchester and Rockland County. That accounted for $7 million in uncollected fines and tolls.
The state is planning to build a new Tappan Zee Bridge, with tolls that could be as high as $14 roundtrip.
Business groups and state lawmakers have been critical of the Thruway’s proposed 45 percent toll increase on most trucks. They said the uncollected tolls are one reason why any toll increase should receive further review. The Thruway delayed a vote on the increase in September.