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Wednesday’s Headlines: Please Clap Edition

Law enforcement impounded "nearly 1,500" vehicles with illegal or covered license plates since March. Plus more news.

Law enforcement has impounded "nearly 1,500" vehicles with illegal or covered license plates since Gov. Hochul and Mayor Adams's big crackdown announcement earlier in March. Transit, police and DMV bigs celebrated that achievement at a big press conference on Tuesday — please clap.

Toll evasion costs the MTA an estimated $50 million per year, according to officials. It comes in many forms: There's the illegal temporary tags exposed by Streetsblog reporter Jesse Coburn's Polk Award-winning 2023 investigation. There's the covered and obscured plates exposed by Streetsblog Editor-in-Chief Gersh Kuntzman's viral "Criminal Mischief" crusade. There's also plenty of drivers skirting license plate rules in other creative ways: fake plates, no plates, expired plates — the list goes on.

The record-setting enforcement by MTA, NYPD and the Port Authority — which includes 12,007 summonses and 339 arrests — has not put a stop to the problem, however. As NYPD Transportation Chief Philip Rivera noted at Tuesday's announcement, the drunk driver who killed three people in a Manhattan park on Fourth of July had a "ghost plate" and actual New Jersey plates hiding behind his windshields.

A small victory: Tuesday's event was also attended by state DMV Commissioner Mark Schroeder, who as recently as last year seemed to dismiss covered and fake tags as even a problem. Schroeder's response to a question about the issue last February was, "If that's something that's happening, please let me know."

On Tuesday, Schroeder said: "We have some New Yorkers who conceal license plates, they avoid paying tolls... Law enforcement is holding them responsible, holding them accountable."

In other news:

  • So long "courtesy, professionalism, respect," hello "fighting crime, protecting the public." (Gothamist)
  • Third Ave. Bridge, Amtrak woes show how New York's record-high heat will make commutes worse. (Gothamist)
  • Nolan Hicks digs into the issues plaguing Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. (Curbed)
  • A long-defunct rail line in Staten Island may be ready for a big return. (SI Advance)
  • Queens TLC appointee calls congestion pricing "the wrong idea at the wrong time." (Daily News)
  • amNY: Feds "blindsided" by Hochul's congestion pricing reversal. (Streetsblog also covered it.)
  • Hochul's congestion pricing theatrics earn her negative headlines back home. (WKBW via YouTube)

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