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E-ZPass Lane Provides Opportunity for "E-Z" Toll Skipping

Whether it is a result of the economy, a reaction to increased toll prices, an innocent mistake or another reason, the number of drivers motoring through New York's E-ZPass lanes without paying tolls is increasing. No matter the reason, the skipped tolls are adding up to millions of dollars in lost monies for the Thruway Authority.

In 2009, the Thruway Authority issued 554,204 violations to drivers. But, in 2010 that number rose nearly 8 percent to approximately 600,000. Before any toll monies are recouped, the 2010 violations add up to nearly $3.1 million in lost toll money for the Thruway Authority. However, through the use of collection agency, the Thruway Authority has recovered approximately $5.2 million in unpaid tolls over the last three years.

Even with an increased number of E-ZPass violations, the Thruway Authority still saw a five percent increase in total revenue in 2010, approximately $663 million. However, increased E-ZPass violations and a decline in the amount of traffic have the Thruway Authority's revenues through the first seven months of 2011 down approximately $5.7 million from the same period in 2010.

While the amounts in unpaid tolls reached the millions of dollars the last few years, the problem of drivers using the E-ZPass lane and not paying is not as rampant as probably thought. According to the Thruway Authority, unpaid tolls account for less than a quarter of a percent of all toll transactions (roughly 600,000 E-ZPass unpaid-toll violations out of 249 million total toll transactions).

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