Senator John J. Flanagan (2nd Senate District), a member of the Senate Transportation Committee, today announced that legislation he sponsored to protect drivers from an unfair E-ZPass surcharge has passed the New York State Senate. The legislation, which would prohibit all agencies who administer the E-ZPass program from charging any monthly fee, was sent to the New York State Assembly for further action.
"The idea that Long Island drivers are being assessed a one dollar charge per month just for having an E-ZPass account is unfair. When the program was first announced, people were urged to sign up to save money and time. Now that the drivers of the state are listening to that request, they are being charged a monthly fee and they deserve better," stated Senator Flanagan.
Senator Flanagan sponsored the legislation after being notified of the charge by constituents. The constituents called when they noticed that the administrative surcharge was being tacked on to E-ZPazz accounts bill each month.
Three different agencies, the New York State Thruway Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), authorize the E-ZPass program within the state. While the Thruway Authority's program is free of any monthly fee, both the Port Authority and the MTA charge the $1 fee to each account.
According to the MTA’s web site, the $1 monthly account service fee was instituted last summer to "help defray the administrative costs of managing our customer’s E-ZPass accounts." MTA estimates that the monthly surcharge generates $13.2 million annually.
The MTA recently announced that it had a budget surplus of over $1 billion.
"The E-ZPass program was designed to make traveling more convenient, to reduce pollution and to save time for commuters. It was not initiated to serve as a revenue generator for the agencies that process the program. This fee should never have been adopted and it should be repealed," concluded Senator Flanagan.
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