TxDOT to block vehicle registrations for unpaid tolls

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 10/3/2013

The Texas Department of Transportation is taking action against those who don’t pay their tolls on time by publishing names of offenders and the amounts they owe. If that’s not enough incentive to get people to pay up, TxDOT will also report habitual violators to county tax assessors who can block license renewals and vehicle registrations.

The agency’s stick approach stems from a bill signed into law earlier this year by Gov. Rick Perry. The bill, formerly SB1792, gives TxDOT the authority to publish a “scofflaw” list and report offenders to tax assessors. That goes beyond the agency’s previous ability to send repeated notices and file claims to Justice of the Peace courts.

TxDOT spokesman Mark Cross told Land Line the list will be generated only from toll roads operated or co-operated by the agency, such as the SH130, SH45 and Loop 1 in the Austin area. The law does not cover other agencies such as the North Texas Tollway Authority, or regional authorities in Harris County and Tyler.

Officials say drivers owe $27 million in unpaid tolls on TxDOT-operated toll roads.
The agency plans to publish the names of violators with at least 100 unpaid tolls in a 12-month period who do not respond to the latest round of notices. The target list includes some 28,000 people, according to an agency press release.

Cross could not confirm whether truckers or trucking companies would be part of the list.

If you have unpaid tolls, contact the TxTag Customer Service Center at 888-468-9824 and work out a payment plan and avoid having your name published on the scofflaw list.

Earlier this year, the Illinois Tollway Authority published a list of its top toll violators, which featured a number of trucking companies. Some of those companies are small operations and are disputing the charges, saying there’s no way they could rack up thousands in unpaid tolls. Penalties for unpaid tolls in Illinois can rack up to the tune of $25 per missed toll.

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