Skip to comments.Maryland rakes in millions of dollars from toll fines, penalties
Posted on 06/14/2018 1:12:50 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Maryland's stepped-up efforts to collect unpaid tolls are raking in millions of dollars for the state - outpacing the growth in toll revenue itself.
State lawmakers and consumer protection groups say the crackdown - which includes referring thousands of delinquent accounts to collections - is punitive and predatory and is pushing Marylanders into debt - and in some cases bankruptcy. Transportation officials say they are only enforcing tolls motorists should be paying anyway - a major shift from years past when the state allowed scofflaws to run up hefty amounts in unpaid tolls and fines without consequences.
"Certainly, we want to collect unpaid tolls out of fairness to the 99% of our customers who do pay as expected," John Sales, a spokesman for the Maryland Transportation Authority (MdTA) said via email. "But, we are far more interested in encouraging E-ZPass usage and prompt payment of tolls due rather than trying to collect overdue tolls and fines."
Last year, MdTA billed 2.2 million penalties worth $109.7 million, according to a toll authority report. The authority, which oversees the state's nine toll facilities, collected $41.7 million in fines in fiscal 2017.
Toll revenue overall is up, but the yield from penalties on late payments and other toll-related fees is even more dramatic. In fiscal 2017, which ended in June, toll revenue rose by about $26 million to $670.8 million, a 4 percent increase driven by more users and more toll transactions across the state.
Toll administrative revenue, which includes fines, was $61.3 million last year, up from $40.7 million in fiscal 2016 - a 50 percent increase. That administrative revenue, which includes proceeds from unused commuter trips, E-ZPass service fees and transponder sales, has more than doubled in four years. An MdTA fiscal report attributes the growth to "enforcement actions."
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
Maryland “Freak State” PING!
Same leftists who told us that Obamacare penalties for not having insurance was a good thing because people need to buy healthcare and then attack libertarians who want small government and less taxes because taxes build roads... Balk at enforcement of toll penalties because it hurts the poor.
A few years ago, on a busy holiday weekend, I exited the NJ Turnpike and wanted to pay cash. The signs directed me to the correct lane but no one was in the booth. The small sign beyond the booth said, ‘Attendant Away - Drive Through’. At that point there’s nothing else to do but drive away.
A few weeks later, I received a bright yellow envelope from the state of NJ with a notice of very serious legal action that would be taken against me if I didn’t pay the toll plus $50. I sent them a copy of the turnpike ticket that I kept and the full amount from the furthest entry point - $3.90.
My only question - how many hundreds of other drivers were caught in the same scam?
Rake away. I have no plans of ever setting foot or tire in that socialist hellhole.
They have congestion priced tolls as well?
I'd have taken a picture of that sign and mailed it in with my $3.90.
Its interesting that a San Francisco newspaper would highlight government abuse taking place in New Jersey.
Sounds like having an EZpass with automatic account (credit card) replenishment is the way to keep this from happening.
Not nearly what Virginia does. There are a couple “shortcut” toll roads that adjust price based on traffic flow. One near me, on I-95 northeast of Baltimore is a rarely used billion dollar boondoggle.
The actual usage is far below projections. So little used the other day, I saw a State Trooper standing on the shoulder with his cute little laser gun. He saw his targeted scofflaw and stepped out onto the highway during rush hour to wave the car over.
There was only one other car in sight. I and everyone else was driving on the non-toll portion and moving along just fine thank you. All exceeding the speed limit.
I'd have taken a picture of the sign and mailed it with a note to pound sand.
Our governor reduced the nominal toll rates even as the state stepped up enforcement.
Seems like a fair trade-off - moderate the excessive tolls, but insist on actual payment from toll users.
If you want lots of revenue, it has to come from the poor. Granted, they may not pay the fines and the state may find themselves accused of racism. That would put an end to the tolls.
It’s a risk but it’s a risk that pays....for now
Motorists should not be paying tolls AND gas taxes AND registration fees in the first place.
It sucks living here
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