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5/28/2008
New York: Tolling Board Drives Toll Free for Life
Transponder perk ensures board members who determine New York toll rates never pay a toll themselves.

Peter Kalikow
The board members responsible for imposing tolls on New York state motorists will never have to pay a toll in their lifetime. The New York Daily News reports that Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) board members each get special E-ZPass transponders that provide toll-free driving and do not expire, even when the individuals leave their position on the board. Tolls in New York City currently range up to $10 for a one-way trip across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Former MTA Chairman Peter S. Kalikow has eight of these transponders that he can use on up to eight of his favorite cars, ensuring he will never have to pay that $10. Among the perfectly restored classics in his collection is a councours-winning 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder. Another 1961 Spyder in equally fine condition sold at auction earlier this month for $10.9 million, the most ever paid for a used car. As for new Ferraris, Kalikow was not satisfied with the ordinary $265,000 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti. He commissioned Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina create a one-of-a-kind version of the V-12 exotic with every body panel customized to suit his refined tastes.

Motoring aficionados are not the only ones to enjoy the free tolls perk. Even the advocates of mass transit on the board can call for higher tolls knowing they will never pay them. Andrew Albert of the Transit Riders Council has one permanent E-ZPass. Long Island Railroad Commuters Council Chairman James McGovern and Metro-North Commuter Council Chairman James Blair each have two. Board Vice Chairman David Mack has six, Vice Chairman Andrew Saul has four. The rest of the board members have one or two. Only board member Nancy Shevell turned down the perk.

"Our board members are not compensated and this is one very small way to acknowledge their many hours of public service," an MTA spokesman told the Daily News.

Source: Kalikow and MTA cronies get passes for life - and YOU pay (New York Daily News, 5/27/2008)



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