Texas DOT begins shame campaign of toll violators

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Texas Department of Transportation on Thursday, Oct. 17, posted the names of the state’s top 25 toll scofflaws.

In an effort to collect some of the $27 million in tolls due to the state, the Texas Department of Transportation and TxTag websites published the list of names. Previously SB1792, the new state law authorized the process that allows TxDOT and other toll entities to publish the names of people who owe money.

The primary targets for collection are 28,000 vehicle owners who each have at least 100 unpaid tolls. Some offenders have vehicles with thousands of toll violations, which add up to money TxDOT officials say is intended to pay debt and fund operations on state-maintained toll roads.

“We hope drivers will respond to our requests to pay their tolls, but if not, it’s only fair to the vast majority of compliant toll road users that we collect tolls owed from habitual violators,” stated James Bass, TxDOT’s chief financial officer.

The published list includes the toll violator’s name, city and state of residence, number of unpaid tolls and total amount owed in tolls and fees.

In addition to posting the list of top violators, SB1792 gives TxDOT the authority to ban vehicles from using toll roads. If pulled over by law enforcement, vehicles in violation of the ban can be ticketed and impounded.

Offenders described as “habitual violators” can also be reported to county tax assessor-collectors to potentially block the renewal of the vehicle’s registration.

Rep. Larry Phillips, R-Sherman, said ensuring that chronic toll scofflaws pay their share on Texas toll facilities is the right thing to do.

“It is unfair to ask lawful toll road users to offset the revenue lost to those who abuse the system,” Phillips said in a news release.

State transportation officials encourage drivers with unpaid toll violations to immediately contact the TxTag customer service center at 888-468-9824. The state could offer a negotiated settlement amount as well as a payment plan, if needed.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Texas, click here.

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