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MTA chair Janno Lieber said some $50 million in tolls are lost to evasion each year on MTA bridges and tunnels. (Evan Simko-Bednarski)
MTA chair Janno Lieber said some $50 million in tolls are lost to evasion each year on MTA bridges and tunnels. (Evan Simko-Bednarski)
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The state’s joint task force on toll evasion in New York City marked its by nabbing 55 vehicles at the — responsible for an estimated $480,000 in unpaid tolls, according to MTA officials.

The joint effort between the MTA, NYPD, and various other enforcement agencies has resulted in nearly 1,500 impounded vehicles to date.

“We brought this team together two years ago to address a serious and growing problem — toll deadbeats and people who use fake and obstructed plates to rip off millions of New Yorkers who play by the rules,” said MTA Chairman Janno Lieber at a Tuesday press conference on the Bronx side of the bridge.

The MTA estimates $50 million was lost to toll theft each year on MTA bridges alone.

Three of the 55 vehicles impounded Monday in a task force operation on the Whitestone Bridge. (Evan Simko-Bednarski)
Three of the 55 vehicles impounded Monday in a task force operation on the Whitestone Bridge. (Evan Simko-Bednarski)

The task force — which also includes the city Sheriff’s Office, the State Police, the state Department of Motor Vehicles, the Taxi and Limousine Commission, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey — was conceived two years ago, but had its first major enforcement action in March, seizing 73 cars and issuing 282 summonses in an operation at the Triborough Bridge.

Since then, state officials said, the combined law enforcement operation has impounded 1,540 vehicles, made 339 arrests and issued 12,007 summonses to drivers evading toll technology with counterfeit or obstructed license plates.

“Those folks [together] owed [almost] $13 million,” Lieber said. “Their vehicles? Not available until they settle up.

“I want New Yorkers to know that we collect 98% of the tolls that are owed by these chronic offenders,” he added.

Lieber also warned drivers not to try evading tolls with counterfeit license plates — also known as “ghost plates.”

“If you have a ghost plate, or some kind of covering on your license plate, please take it off,” Lieber said. “You’re going to be stopped.”

Ghost plates have been an area of particular concern to police, who say the plates also pose a public safety hazard.

The plates, which emerged as a major problem on city streets during the pandemic, can give criminals a leg up as they flee police by allowing drivers to hide their identities.

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