TxDOT asks chronic toll violators to pay up

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by HEATHER KOVAR / KVUE News

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherK_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on October 3, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 3 at 6:40 PM

AUSTIN -- The Texas Department of Transportation has issued a warning for people who use toll roads without paying. There's a new plan to get chronic toll-road violators to pay up.

The agency says 28,000 people owe more than $27 million. People who have 100 or more unpaid toll bills will get a letter this week. They must call TxDOT by Oct. 16. Those who don't will find their names published on TxDOT's website on Oct. 17. If you still don't pay, your car could be banned from toll roads, impounded and, ultimately, your vehicle registration could be blocked.

"Twenty-seven million dollars of unpaid tolls could go toward paying debt and paying for some much-needed maintenance on our roads," said TxDOT spokesperson Veronica Beyer.

Many have posted complaints on KVUE's Facebook page, The KVUE Insider, saying they've tried to pay, blaming TxDOT system problems. Beyer says once accounts are marked late, you can't pay online because they want you to call them. They will help set up a payment plan.

The power to ban cars from tollways and impound them, as well as reporting to tax assessors for the potential to block renewal of vehicle registration, comes from legislation authored by Senator Kirk Watson. It passed in June.

TxDOT is only targeting those who owe money on toll roads it manages, including SH 45, North MoPac and segments of SH 130. The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority manages 183A and Highway 290. At this time that agency is not planning to use the legislation to recover delinquent tolls. Instead it will continue with its own collection process.

Mobility Authority Manager of Communications Rick L'Amie says at any point about 2,500 different cases are being rotated through the justice of the peace in Williamson County. Next they begin in Travis County with tolls from 290. Thus if you drive different toll roads, you can get bills from separate entities if you don't have a TxTag.

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