New program to catch repeat toll violators in effect, but not enforced yet

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new program aimed at catching repeat toll violators and making them pay up is in effect, but it may not have any teeth for a while.

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, or CTRMA installed special license plate-scanning cameras along 183A and 290 that are now supposed to be alerting the Travis and Williamson County Constables Offices when a repeat violator drives through.

The scanning technology would only flag law enforcement in extreme cases, in which someone hasn’t paid 100 or more toll fees within 12 months.

The cameras have been up and running since December 1, but a spokeswoman for CTRMA says the mobility authority is still working out its agreements with Travis and Williamson Counties for enforcement.

Deputies with the Constables offices would be the ones flagged and charged with pulling people over. CTRMA says they could give the driver a trespassing ticket and even impound that person’s car.

But none of that is happening yet.

According to Williamson County’s Precinct 1 Constables Office, the county’s Commissioner’s Court still has to approve letting deputies enforce in regards to the toll violators. If it’s approved, the Precinct 1 Constables Office says deputies will just pull people over and give verbal warnings, unless they’ve pulled the same person over multiple times

The entire program is set to cost $404,526. 

When the CTRMA’s board approved the plan in June, board members said the whole point is to get people to pitch in and pay their share if they’re using the road.

“I’m under no illusion that it’s going to pay for itself,” said board member David Singleton. “But, I do think we have an equity deal where we owe it to the people that are paying their tolls. I think we also have a fiduciary duty to our bond holders.”

KXAN also reached out to the Travis County Precinct 1 Constables Office about plans for enforcement and is waiting for a response.

In a statement Monday, a CTRMA spokeswoman said, “The program is bigger than road enforcement. It’s not about punishing people. The goal is to get people to pay their outstanding bills to create a fairness across all of our users. The road enforcement is in place only if needed.”

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