Cuomo cites tax evasion in veto of Toll Payer Protection Act
After almost a year of its voyage through the state Assembly and Senate, Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed the Toll Payer Protection Act late Friday.
Some lawmakers say they are frustrated with the decision, citing cashless tolls and accumulating fines as a major problem for drivers.
"This is a problem where we've seen that cashless tolling,” says Sen. David Carlucci of the 38th Senatorial District. “They now make more in fines than they do in tolls. That system is wrong."
Eric Reyes of Yonkers says that since cashless tolling was implemented in Westchester, his family hasn't received any toll bills, but has accumulated fees amounting to $1,000.
“Now we're paying it off,” he says. “And you know, that's actually pretty ridiculous because we didn't even know they were sending [the bill] out."
Sen. Carlucci and Assemblyman Tom Abinanti say that it is the countless stories like that that inspired them to co-sponsor the Toll Payer Protection Act, which would notify drivers of toll bills within 14 days by email or text. It would also safeguard against vehicle registration suspensions for failing to pay.
“We’ve seen just abusive standards where people were having their vehicle registration suspended, where people aren't being notified and we think we can have a balance,” says Sen. Carlucci.
In a statement, Gov. Cuomo said that the bill would “lower to the point of insignificance any penalty that could be charged for nonpayment of a toll bill and prohibits registration suspension for nonpayment, hamstringing the state’s enforcement ability.” He went on to write that the bill would facilitate greater toll evasion.
Gov. Cuomo also said that he will propose additional enhancements to ensure a fair and efficient system in next year's executive budget.