Metropolitan Transportation Authority - Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority

 

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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

Metropolitan Transportation Authority - Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority
Selected Aspects of Collection of Bridge and Tunnel Tolls and Fees (Follow-Up)


Issued: October 15, 2019
Link to full audit report 2019-F-1

Obective
To determine the extent of implementation of the nine recommendations included in our initial report, Selected Aspects of Collection of Bridge and Tunnel Tolls and Fees (2016-S-64).

About the Program
Our initial report found that, while the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA) makes efforts to collect unpaid tolls, $11.3 million in tolls were either written off ($5.4 million in On-the-Go, or OTG tolls) or uncollected ($2.3 in OTG tolls and $3.6 in Deferred Tolls). We determined that major portions of the uncollected tolls resulted from issuing OTG tags to motorists who then used the 65,561 unregistered tags to incur $2.3 million in unpaid tolls (in excess of the original deposit) and $2.79 million in unpaid Deferred Tolls, incurred when customers appeared at toll plazas and could not pay the toll, promising to pay later.

In addition, TBTA had more than $72 million in unpaid fees for the Henry Hudson Bridge from 2013 through 2015. TBTA officials claim fees are a deterrent but have waived as much as 90 percent of fees due upon receipt of the payment of the unpaid tolls. Based on the informal nature of its analysis and the limited data to support it, it is unclear how rigorously TBTA has examined the options related to deterrence. With TBTA’s plan to have cashless open road tolling (ORT) at all its crossings by the end of 2017, the amount of fees assessed will substantially increase and a more formal analysis of such options should be considered so that TBTA can maximize the amount of tolls collected without being unduly punitive to drivers.

TBTA also did not fully utilize the new Department of Motor Vehicles registration suspension program, submitting only a limited number of registrations for suspension each week after the initial introductory period. In 23 weeks in 2016, TBTA submitted 225 plates for registration suspension out of the 4,645 that were eligible. As of May 15, 2017, the number of plates submitted to DMV rose to 736, out of 10,421 eligible.

Finally, officials said the new ORT system has no mechanism to alert officials that a vehicle crossing its facility is on a toll violator list and should be pursued. In addition, TBTA officials stated that a “Hot List,” which would allow law enforcement to locate vehicles of out-of-state violators, was not implemented because other change orders for ORT and other New York E-ZPass agencies took priority. However, ORT has existed at the Henry Hudson Bridge for over four years.

Key Finding
TBTA officials have made progress in addressing the issues we identified. However, additional improvements are needed. Of nine prior audit recommendations, four were implemented, two were partially implemented, and three were not implemented.

Key Recommendation
Officials are given 30 days after the issuance of the follow-up review to provide information on any actions that are planned to address the unresolved issues discussed in this review.


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Carmen Maldonado
Phone: (212) 417-5200; Email: StateGovernmentAccountability@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236