TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey-based trucking company tops the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s list of toll evaders.
According to a Port Authority news release, EM Padilla Trucking Corp of Weehawken, New Jersey, owes $201,358.53 in tolls.
But that’s just a fraction of the overall total of more than $25 million owed to the state by toll evaders in 2023.
“In addition to sharing toll evasion information with regional partners, the Port Authority also enhanced toll enforcement efforts with increased targeted patrols, streamlined and improved internal data collection, and leveraged various types of license plate reader systems across a spectrum of roadway infrastructure and police technology to catch evaders,” according to a news release.
The agency also identified 10 repeat toll evaders against whom the largest default judgments were awarded in 2023.
The agency’s stepped-up enforcement efforts resulted in a year-over-year increase of 28% in toll-evasion related summonses issued by the Port Authority Police Department (PAPD), the news release noted.
In 2023, PAPD issued 5,861 toll evasions-related summonses, including 4,446 summonses for obstructing, missing or fictitious license plates. In comparison, the agency issued nearly 4,700 toll evasion-related summonses and recovered more than $21 million in overdue tolls and administrative fees from evaders in 2022.
“With increased patrols and the deployment of more technology across our infrastructure, we will catch toll violators and they will pay what they owe,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole. “Tolls fund the critical infrastructure that stitch our region together, and drivers will not be able to skate by and steal.”
Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said evading tolls amounts to robbing “our facilities of the resources needed to keep them running safely and efficiently. It is both unfair and illegal for toll cheats to try to dodge their share of the cost of maintaining the safety of our bridges and tunnels, and we are committed to thwarting this criminal behavior.”
Toll evaders who repeatedly do not pay their bills on time may be subject to having their vehicles’ registrations suspended and their vehicles towed and impounded by PAPD at the owners’ expense. Repeat offenders also may be subject to civil litigation for toll recovery. The following 10 toll cheats were ordered to pay the largest civil judgments to the Port Authority in 2023 due to their unpaid tolls and fees:
“Toll evasion is a serious offense that simply does not pay,” said Port Authority Police Superintendent Edward Cetnar. “We have zero tolerance for toll evaders and will continue to crack down on anyone looking to cheat the system.”
Click here for the full list of toll evaders.
Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and raised in East Texas, John Worthen returned to his home state to attend college in 1998 and decided to make his life in The Natural State. Worthen is a 20-year veteran of the journalism industry and has covered just about every topic there is. He has a passion for writing and telling stories. He has worked as a beat reporter and bureau chief for a statewide newspaper and as managing editor of a regional newspaper in Arkansas. Additionally, Worthen has been a prolific freelance journalist for two decades, and has been published in several travel magazines and on travel websites.