Mario Cuomo Bridge late toll-payers get a break

Drivers with E-ZPass almost universally praise cashless tolling for shortening their journeys, reducing congestion, making roads safer, and generally improving their lives.

For those without E-ZPass, the state theoretically mails a bill for the toll to the address attached to the driver's registration, giving the driver a 30-day period in which to pay the bill before the first late fee. But if the bill arrives late or if the driver's registration pertains to an old address, drivers might not see the bill in time—and if not paid within 100 days they receive a $100 fine for every unpaid violation.

"We've taken the criticism and the suggestions and the ideas, we've taken it very seriously and I suspect you can see that here today," New York State Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew Driscoll said.

After a five-minute somewhat-convoluted explanation of how cashless tolling works, Driscoll announced improved signage around cashless tolls, a redesign of the toll bill envelope and toll bill itself, and—most significantly—forgiveness for the $2.8 million in outstanding fines for unpaid tolls on the Mario Cuomo Bridge between April 24, 2016, and the end of the month if those who owe those fines pay their outstanding tolls through the mail or online by January 31.

Driscoll encouraged all drivers to update their mailing addresses with the DMV, as the law requires, and just get an E-ZPass.

"If you don't want to deal with a bill in the mail, the easiest way, the smartest way to do that is by getting an E-ZPass," he said.