Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) today announced that legislation he sponsors to raise penalties for drivers who intentionally avoid paying tolls on toll roads has been passed by the New York State Senate. The legislation would allow drivers who intentionally try to avoid paying a toll on a toll road to be prosecuted under the state’s theft of services law.
“Toll dodgers are stealing from the rest of us, and we are the ones who ultimately make up the cost through higher tolls. Expanding the theft of services law to include toll evasion would create an enhanced deterrent and give law enforcement stronger tools to ensure that toll dodgers pay the price for not paying their fare share,” said Senator Fuschillo, Chairman of the Senate’s Transportation Committee.
Under current law, those who try to evade paying for other public transportation services, such as hopping a subway turnstile or jumping out of a taxi cab without paying, can be charged with theft of services, a class A misdemeanor. However, evading tolls on toll roads is not included under the law.
Senator Fuschillo’s legislation (S746) would expand the current theft of services law to include evading tolls on a toll road, ensuring that toll dodgers would be subject to the same class A misdemeanor charges as everyone else who tries to avoid paying for their public transportation. This would better enable law enforcement to prosecute toll evaders and ensure that they pay their fair share. In addition, the legislation creates a new class E felony provision in the theft of services law for individuals who steal transportation services in excess of $1,000.
Toll dodging costs millions of dollars in lost revenue; over $1.3 million in tolls are owed just by the most blatant toll dodgers listed on the Port Authority’s “Wall of Shame,” as of December 2011. Drivers have also been using technology which manipulates, hides, or disguises their license plates so that they can drive through the E-Z Pass lane without being charged for the toll.