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Amnesty program for Mario Cuomo Bridge fines startsPosted: Updated:
Starting Monday, you'll be able to avoid fines if you pay off overdue tolls you owe after crossing the Mario Cuomo Bridge.
An amnesty program was created because hundreds of drivers complained they were being hit with, in some cases, thousands of dollars in fines for not paying toll bills they say they never even received.
The cashless tolling system went into effect last April as part of the new bridge project. It was supposed to allow tolls to be paid while traffic keeps moving rather than go through a toll booth. That's done either through E-ZPass or a system called Tolls by Mail, where a picture is taken of a car's license plate and a bill is mailed.
The problem is, many drivers said the bills for the tolls never came. And when they finally got a notice, it was a collection notice or bills for huge fines. Some drivers say they even had their registrations suspended.
The New York State Thruway Authority has set up a website where drivers are able to just pay the original toll fee and they won't have to pay the fines.
The amnesty applies to violations issued at the start of cashless tolling, so between April 24, 2016 and Jan. 31, 2018. Also, the is only amnesty if you pay your tolls in full. "If you didn't get the bill, you can't blame somebody for not paying it...seems pretty straight forward, start with a clean slate and get the program up and running properly," says Josh Kellermann, of Tarrytown.
The Thruway Authority is also rolling out a plan to prevent these problems from happening again including an incentive to sign up for E-ZPass.