Senator Carlucci Calls for 90-Day Toll Debt Moratorium
Senator David Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) is calling on State tolling authorities to delay toll debt collection for 90 days, after a front line worker almost had her registration suspended due to unpaid toll bills.
Nurse Merlyne Francois Calixte came to Senator Carlucci after receiving a notice in the mail earlier this month from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The letter stated her registration would be suspended on April 30 if she did not pay the $230 she owed in tolls and $900 in administrative fees.
“No one’s registration should be suspended for unpaid toll bills,” said Senator David Carlucci. This is a fight I have taken on with the Toll Payer Protection Act. It’s crazy to think a nurse serving on the frontlines would not be able to go to work because of toll bills. This is unacceptable and $900 in fees is excessive. No essential worker should have to focus on toll debt and calling tolling authorities for hours, when they are trying to take care of their health and protect the health of others.”
Calixte explained she crosses the George Washington Bridge every day to get to work at a New York City Hospital from Rockland County. She has an E-ZPass, but had no idea the account was in arrears. She said she never received any prior notices. In jeopardy of not being able to get to and from work to support her family and help others, she was in need of immediate assistance.
Senator Carrlucci took action, reaching out to the Port Authority and expressing that $900 in administrative fees was “egregious,” especially at a time when COVID-19 has crippled the country’s economy and led to record unemployment.
The Port Authority acted quickly and waived the $900 fee. However, when Calixte tried to pay her remaining $200 in toll bills to keep her registration intact, the E-ZPass collections center told her that the office she needed was closed for cleaning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Carlucci reached out to the Port Authority again who quickly followed up with the appropriate parties and ensured Calixte’s registration would not be suspended tomorrow.
“I want to thank Senator Carlucci for everything he did to rectify this situation,” said Merlyne Francois Calixte. “He acted quickly and his actions made a difference. Now I can drive to the hospital tomorrow with peace of mind. However, how many other essential workers is this happening to? Not everyone will know to contact their Senator. I hope they can change this system.”
“This is happening to other frontline heroes, and it’s wrong,” said Carlucci. “Delaying toll debt collection for 90-days makes sense, and tolling authorities should be looking to offer financial relief where they can for our essential workforce.”
Senator Carlucci encourages residents who encounter toll bill disputes to contact his office at (845) 623-3627 for assistance.