New Laws Set to Crack Down on Congestion Toll Evaders in NYC

April 8, 2022

New York’s Central Business District Tolling Program (CBDTP) is set to kick off sometime next year. From 2023, any vehicle entering the new congestion charge zone in Manhattan will need to pay somewhere between $9 and $23.

But before the CBDTP program is officially launched, New York Governor Kathy Hochul wants to ensure firm laws are in place.

Hochul’s proposed $216 billion budget plan was unveiled earlier this year and it includes some tough new amendments to the vehicle and traffic laws. With the MTA currently losing millions each year on unpaid tolls, the proposed new laws will crack down on toll evaders by handing out hefty fines and making it harder than ever to play the system.

What are the new traffic laws for NYC?

Proposed change 1: The first law change will crack down on those who obstruct their number plates to cheat the tolling system. The proposed new law states that ‘number plates shall be kept clean and in a readable condition’. Vehicles with unreadable or tampered with number plates could face a fine of up to $500.

Proposed change 2:  The second law change will address a current loophole that allows people to change their car license plates to avoid tunnel and bridge tolls. The proposed change will give the Department of Motor Vehicles the right to deny registration of a vehicle or changes to vehicle owner details until outstanding fines have been paid.

Proposed change 3: The third change relates directly to the new Manhattan congestion pricing scheme. Those who commit fraud by falsely declaring that they apply for an exemption could be fined up to $5000 and convicted for a class D felony (which will permanently stay on their criminal record).

Currently the only vehicles that have been granted an exemption to New York’s CBDTP are emergency service vehicles and vehicles carrying disabled passengers.

State lawmakers are yet to approve the above proposed law changes, but they will likely be included in the finalized NYC budget later this year.

Congestion charge zone checker

With congestion pricing just around the corner, you may be wondering - where is the congestion charge zone?

There is currently no automatic congestion zone checker online, but this map from the MTA may help.

Congestion charge zone map

NYC congestion zone

According to the MTA, and as this congestion zone area map shows, the Central Business District Tolling Zone would cover 60th street and all roads south of 60th street, apart from

- FDR Drive

- West Side Highway/9A, Battery Pass Underpass, and any road portions of the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel that connects to West Street.