According to an audit issued on Friday by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, the New York State Thruway Authority is owing $276.3 million in taxes and tolls, with almost half of that money owed by out-of-state drivers.
The authority needs to do a better job of locating, billing for, and collecting tolls and taxes, according to auditors. The recommendations included putting in place adequate processes and resources for fee collection, allocating more funds to suspend registrations, and enhancing the use of cameras to recognize license plates.
The majority of the recommendations were accepted by the Thruway Authority.
The Toll Increase For The 496-Mile Route
The audit was made public as Thruway authorities considered toll increases for the 496-mile route this year in an effort to earn money to improve infrastructure.
If the idea receives final approval, E-Z Pass customers' tolls will increase by around 5% on January 1st, 2024, and another 5% hike would take effect on January 1st, 2027. For motorists without an E-Z Pass, increases may be substantially higher.
90% of Thruway Authority's Income Depends On Tolls
About 90% of the Thruway Authority's income is derived from tolls. The implementation of cashless tolling was completed in 2020 with the goal of reducing traffic congestion. Contracts with third parties are made for tolling, collection, and receivables.
Drivers without an E-Z Pass must mail in their toll payments. Drivers from outside of New York owe approximately $119.3 million, or 43%, of the unpaid tolls and taxes. Drivers from the nearby state of New Jersey owe $34.2 million, which is a large portion of the debt. Drivers in Connecticut owe $16.7 million.
Many of the audit's suggestions, according to a statement from the Thruway Authority, are already being carried out.