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TxDOT Announces Forgiveness of $1.3 Billion in Toll Fees & Penalties

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In an announcement last week that came like a gift, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) forgave over $1.3 billion in unpaid fines and toll road fees, making many Texas residents feel grateful. However, some residents have been left feeling a little slighted. That’s because this short-term helping hand from TxDOT only applied to roads which were operated directly by their offices and not those operated by other companies.

As an example, there are reported to be millions of dollars still owed via such entities as Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTMA) for their respective toll road, which is 183-A in Cedar Park and Leander. Another example is the 290 Toll, operating in Manor through East Austin. Organizations such as this have an exemption from a new state law that went into effect on March 1, capping penalties and late fees for toll road users. The law caps admin fees at $6 per invoice with a yearly cap of $48 per customer. Prior to this law and subsequent cap, drivers were being hit with penalties and late fees amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.

TxDot Announces Forgiveness of $1.3 Billion in Unpaid Penalties and Toll Fees

Photo: Pixabay

Under this new law, drivers who make regular use of toll roads that are managed by TxDOT will begin to see lower fees. If a driver doesn’t have a toll tag and they’re regularly commuting in and around the Austin area, penalties and late fees can quickly add up (if they’re not staying on top of their mail and making timely payments). Those who say they have TxTAG accounts have claimed they’ve been hit with added fees regardless. Add to this the fact that there is presently no single point of contact and billing for all of the toll roads, and you have a confusing and muddled mess for drivers needing multiple accounts.

A grass-roots push for free access roads that bypass such toll roads at the 183-A has been growing. State Representative Tony Dale has been working to support that over recent years, in an effort to lessen this burden on drivers. When addressing the bill’s details in 2017, Dale explained, “The drivers in the area are saying they are paying too much for it, and they want free access roads, and they want their bills to be accurate.” Dale has noted that he’s long fought against such roads, and CTRMA’s policies, and he’s not surprised they haven’t followed suit with TxDOT in penalty forgiveness. “They don’t even waive fees for disabled vets and Purple Heart recipients. TxTAG does and CTRMA has been struggling to implement a plan to do so for a long time,” he explained.

 

TxDot Announces Forgiveness of $1.3 Billion in Unpaid Penalties and Toll Fees

Photo: Facebook/TPS CCRMA

Yet, aside from this push for the freedom to drive Texas highways without a toll, and although TxDOT has forgiven the $1.3 billion in penalties and fees, they’re not waiving the actual toll amounts that drivers owe. They also won’t be offering a refund for any overpaid penalties or fees. TxDOT has asserted to media sources that there is a total of $147 million in outstanding tolls from close to 2.2 million drivers.