CENTRAL TEXAS (KXAN) — Believe it or not, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority says thousands of people have been getting away with not paying their toll bills.
But that’s all going to change soon.
The CTRMA board unanimously approved a $404,526 contract to buy and use automatic license plate reader technology that can ultimately result in drivers being pulled over by law enforcement if they’re “habitual toll violators” and still try to drive on the toll roads.
Tracie Brown, Director of Operations, told the board this applies to about 15,000 drivers who have 100 or more events of nonpayment in a 12-month period. The highest balance one person owes is $9,000.
She said the agency isn’t talking about those who have one or two missed payments. She said they’re talking about people who use 183A multiple times a day every day.
“Number one, it’s not fair to the people who pay,” said Jeff Dailey, Deputy Executive Director. “Number two, we need to maintain our revenue in here, so we can repay our bonds, our loans that we took out to build the roadways here, and then the third thing is, the less money we get in, we use that money to reinvest in the region.”
Brown said the habitual violators have been given nonpayment notices. They’ll receive another warning in July.
“We do everything we can to make sure we track down the best address to give people these notices, so they’re aware,” said Dailey.
If they still don’t contact the CTRMA to come up with a plan, in September, the agency will post the names of those drivers on its website as “habitual toll violators” and block the renewal of their vehicle registrations.
The agency will also install 14 cameras on 183A and 290, so if those habitual violators try to get on those highways, the plate reader will recognize their information and alert nearby law enforcement.
The responding officer can then pull that driver over and issue a warning or citation. It would be up to the officer to decide if the vehicle should be impounded.
Dailey said if you receive the warning, contact the CTRMA. “We can work out some form of a payment plan for both the tolls and the fees, he said. “Sometimes we can negotiate down the amount of fees. But we want to make sure we receive 100% of the tolls.”
The CTRMA say it’s working on agreements with Travis and Williamson County law enforcement officials.
KXAN’s Yoojin Cho is speaking with the CTRMA about why they chose 183A and 290 as the first phase of the enforcement program. Watch KXAN News at 6 p.m.