Quantcast

New law gets tough on toll violators

Toll violators now risk possible suspension of vehicle registration

8/1/2013, 9:53 a.m.
On July 1, a new law went into effect that should motivate toll violators to pay their overdue tolls.
Francis Scott Key Bridge MDTA

— On July 1, a new law went into effect that should motivate toll violators to pay their overdue tolls. This law gives the MD Transportation Authority (MDTA) the ability to suspend the vehicle registration of toll violators who choose not to pay their tolls. MDTA has begun the transition to a new civil citation process to help the agency recoup the money owed by those who use the State’s toll facilities and never pay up.

The new law, to be fully implemented in early October 2013, also provides anyone with an unpaid toll prior to July 1, 2013, a unique opportunity to pay their toll balances without having to pay fees. Toll violators who do not take advantage of the transition period will receive a new Notice of Toll(s) Due (NOTD) under the new law beginning in October for their unpaid tolls and then will be subject to a civil citation and $50 fine for each toll violation.

“Every dollar counts, but this isn’t just a money issue – it’s a fairness issue for the 99 percent of motorists who do pay their tolls,” said MDTA Acting Executive Secretary Bruce Gartner. “Thanks to the leadership of Del. James E. Malone, Jr., and the hard work of the House Environmental Matters Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, Maryland now has the ‘teeth’ needed to collect unpaid tolls from repeat offenders.”

House Bill 420, which passed both the House and Senate unanimously, allows the MDTA to continue Video Tolling – sending the registered owner a bill to pay the toll after traveling – at all eight of its toll facilities. Under the new law, vehicle owners who do not pay their NOTD within 30 days will receive a civil citation and $50 fine for each toll violation, on top of their Video Tolls owed. The owner will have the option to contest the citation in district court. Failure to pay the Video Toll and fine could lead to non-renewal or suspension of the owner’s vehicle registration and/or referral to Maryland’s Central Collection Unit (CCU).

The MDTA has ended the practice of imposing administrative fees on unpaid toll accounts, and the CCU is referring any uncollected tolls back to the MDTA. Fees are currently being removed from toll violations, and the account owners will receive a statement showing only the unpaid Video Tolls due. This statement will include information on the new law and is expected to reach customers by the end of July. Customers with unpaid tolls in Maryland can pay by the following methods:

  • Visit ezpassmd.com;
  • Mail check/money order payable to E-ZPass Maryland to P.O. Box 17600, Baltimore, MD 21297;
  • Visit an E-ZPass Maryland Stop-In Center;
  • Call the E-ZPass Maryland Customer Service Center during regular business hours (7 a.m. - 6 p.m.,Monday – Friday) at 1-888-321-6824.

The new citation process paves the way for reciprocal agreements with other states to strengthen interagency collection of outstanding tolls, as well as for the growth of all electronic tolling (AET) in Maryland. The Intercounty Connector/MD 200 is the State’s first AET facility, and the new I-95 Express Toll Lanes - anticipated to open late 2014 in northeast Baltimore - also will use AET. The MDTA is studying the feasibility of removing toll plazas and using AET at its other toll facilities in the future.

Tolls are the primary source of revenue for the MDTA and its bridges, tunnels and highways. The MDTA does not receive general State funds or Transportation Trust Fund dollars.