MTA cracking down on fake plates, toll evasion and unpaid bills

The MTA has announced that it is cracking down on fake license plates and toll evaders.

"It could be a bike rack, a Christmas wreath, or a clear or tinted case. If it's covering your license plate, the MTA says you will pay the price," said Metropolitan Transportation Authority CEO Janno Lieber on Friday. 

MTA officials are warning drivers who use the region's bridges and tunnels that they, along with an army of cameras, are capturing the front and back of your car and are cracking down on drivers who don't pay their toll bills and drivers sporting expired and fake plates.  

"Some of them are from Florida," said Lieber who held up fraudulent plates. "These are all fake plates we've recovered. And wow, some of them are from New Jersey, the guys who don't want to pay congestion pricing."

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From January to July, the bridges and tunnels team caught more cars breaking the law than in all of 2022. They’ve seized 44 cars registered to persistent toll violators in the last week alone. That accounted for nearly $1 million in unpaid tolls.

"This is about fundamental fairness," Lieber said. "It is not right that some drivers, some rolling around in Mercedes and Porsches, come onto our bridges and through tunnels, and skip out on paying thousands and thousands of dollars in tolls. That is your money they’re taking, that is the public’s money."

The worst offender is the driver of a Range Rover. The MTA said the driver owed more than $50,000 in unpaid tolls. The driver's license was suspended, and it's going to take a lot of money to get their car out of the MTA's lot.

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CEO Janno Lieber points out Governor Kathy Hochul is bringing toll prices down-- even down to zero-- for some New Yorkers.

At the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, eligible Staten Islanders can pay a toll of just $2.75. Starting in February, eligible Bronx and Queens residents with an EZ pass account will be catching a break with new rebates on the Henry Hudson Bridge and the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge.

And remember, next time you're tempted to evade the tolls, the MTA is reaping the rewards.

"It is very much a profit center for us to make sure people pay their tolls," Lieber said.