Cars pass through toll booths to use the George Washington...

Cars pass through toll booths to use the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee, N.J., in 2022. Credit: AP / Seth Wenig

The MTA and law enforcement agencies seized 21 cars and issued nearly 800 summonses last week during a two-day operation targeting persistent toll violators and other traffic offenders.

The targeted multiagency operation seized the vehicles for violations including unpaid tolls, unregistered and suspended licenses among other traffic infractions. The operation was conducted on Thursday, at the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, and on Friday, at the Throgs Neck Bridge, George Washington Bridge and Lincoln Tunnel, according to the MTA.

“Amplified enforcement efforts have yielded big returns and hopefully sent a message to all scofflaws and aspiring scofflaws — if you try to skip out on the toll at any crossing in the metropolitan region, you will only end up paying more,” MTA Bridges and Tunnels President Catherine Sheridan said in a statement.

The task force, which was launched last month, includes the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Bridges and Tunnels, NYPD, Port Authority police, New York State Police, state Department of Motor Vehicles and New York City sheriff’s deputies.

The MTA said the scofflaws caught in the operation had amassed more than $586,000 in unpaid tolls, fees, judgments and debts. The operation led to 21 arrests and 793 summonses issued.

Earlier this month, the MTA said a one-day operation led to 14 arrests, 413 tickets and the confiscation of 10 improper or covered license plates at the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, George Washington Bridge and Lincoln Tunnel.

Last year, MTA Bridges and Tunnels officers seized 2,731 vehicles, a 46.6% increase from the previous year. They also issued 17,865 summonses for covered or obstructed license plates in 2023, an increase of 15% over 2022.

MTA officers have issued more than 3,000 summonses for covered or obstructed license plates since the beginning of this year.

A study by Newsday found drivers concealed, obstructed or used bogus license plates to dodge an average of 224,000 tolls a month last year at MTA bridges and tunnels. The MTA previously told Newsday that plate cheaters cost the authority about $46 million in toll revenue in 2022.

The law enforcement agencies targeted drivers through suspended registrations, traffic stops and surveillance to find repeat violators. They use “data-driven intelligence” to identify persistent toll violators.

“Ghost plates and toll evasion are not only taking away needed revenue for the city and the state, but they are also costing the taxpayers of New York City and New York State who are following the law,” DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder, chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, said in a statement.

A plan to crack down on highway and bridge toll evasion, which would include a ban on tinted license plate covers or other covers that block electronic readers from scanning a plate, could be approved by New York lawmakers as part of the 2023-24 fiscal year state budget, Newsday reported.

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