State lawmakers pass ‘toll payers’ rights bill

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While the new cashless tolls on Grand Island have added convenience to the commute on the I-190, they have also created a new set of serious problems, such as fines and penalties for unpaid tolls amounting to hundreds of dollars.

Even though Grand Island’s cashless tolls have only been in place for three months, drivers have contacted Call 4 Action after getting hit with those massive fees, due to a glitch in the billing system. 

But relief may be on the way as state lawmakers passed a measure known as the “Toll Payers Protection Act”.

The bill provides a toll payers’ “bill of rights”, that requires tolling agencies, such as the State Thruway Authority, to properly notify a driver when a violation has been registered against them, followed up by additional notices, and an appeal procedure for resolving mistakes.

State Assemblyman Robin Schimminger co-sponsored the measure based on the experiences of downstate drivers who have had cashless tolls for years.      

“The fines and penalties start ramping up, then they are pulled over by the police, their registration is taken away, they are left to walk home. It is a series of horror stories that are happening in New York City.”

Schimminger said the “Toll Payers Protection Act” should prevent those kinds of horror stories from happening to drivers here in Western New York. 

The new bill of rights would curtail the penalties drivers are assessed for unpaid tolls, and restrict the Thruway Authority’s use of collection agencies to recover tolls and penalties.

The Toll Payers Protection Act passed in both the State Assembly and Senate, and just needs Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign it into law.

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