Monday, December 09, 2013 5:00 PM
Published on: Thursday, September 19, 2013
By Donna Broadway
BALTIMORE - Toll delinquents have until Oct. 1, 2013, to pay all outstanding fines before new penalties go into effect. The Maryland Department of Transportation Authority estimates that there are $6.7 million in uncollected tolls.
Under the new law, any tolls that are unpaid after 30 days will be subject to a $50 citation, along with the cost of the toll. After 30 days of nonpayment, once the toll violation citation is issued with a $50 civil penalty, the driver is given 30 days to either request a district court hearing to contest the citation or to pay the citation and civil penalty.
If a driver racks up $1,000 or more in unpaid tolls, their registration will be flagged at the MVA for suspension or non renewal and the fines will be submitted to a central collection unit for non payment.
“Every dollar counts, however we are also looking at it from a fairness issue, 99 percent of the facility users are paying their tolls and it is 1 percent who are not, it is not necessarily fair to people who are following the rules, it’s about fairness, but we do want to collect the money that is due,” said John Sales of the Maryland Transportation Authority.
The ICC, which is Maryland’s only electronic toll road, has nearly $900,000 in uncollected Video Toll Rates. VRTs are used to collect the tolls of drivers who do not have an EZ-Pass. Drivers using VRT are charged 150 percent of the EZ-Pass toll rate, which is $3 during non-peak hours from Route 29 to Interstate 370 and $4 from Interstate 95 to I-370. Rates drop to $1.60 for overnight drivers. According to official figures from the MDTA, the ICC collected over $19 million in tolls in 2012. The ICC is the only toll in Maryland not to see an increase.
“With the ICC a lot of that is based on how much traffic is using the facility, so if we start to see the general increase in traffic on the ICC that is going up and up and up and that it gets fairly congested, then we would look at the possibility of raising tolls as an option to relieve that congestion,” Sales said. “With the ICC, they have higher tolls during the peak hour traffic; during rush hour traffic they have higher tolls because that’s when we expect the most traffic to be on the ICC. In the early morning or later afternoon, we have lower tolls. The tolling structure is unique. We don’t have any other toll facility in Maryland that is handled that way, but we use that help managing congestion.”
The MDTA estimates that in fiscal year 2012, over 11 million trips were made on the ICC. The figures for fiscal 2013 will not be available until Oct. 1. The final segment of the ICC from I-95 to Route 1 in Prince George’s County will open as scheduled in spring 2014. Sales said the MDTA has no intention of setting new toll rates for the new extension and that the new road will be tolled by mileage and rates will vary by the time of day.