NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Drivers who use North Texas toll roads but ignore their bills are getting a break of sorts starting Thursday.
A bill passed by the Texas Legislature has revised the North Texas Tollway Authority’s (NTTA) toll collection process. The new system gives Zip Cash, or non-TollTag, customers extra time to pay an overdue bill and caps the amount of late fees.
NTTA spokesman Michael Rey explained, “We’ll give you an additional 30 days to pay and there’ll be an $8 charge on that. The second notice on that will be a $6.60 charge per toll incurred, as well as the previous $8 carries forward.”
Under the new law that $6.60 per toll charge cannot exceed $200, plus $36 in administrative fees.
Those amounts are decidedly different from the present collection system, which can sock a motorist with penalties of more than $8 per unpaid toll.
Rey said the new plan is “revenue-neutral” and won’t generate more cash for the NTTA. “The fees, at whatever point in the process you’re at, the fees that we charge match the amount of money that it costs us to go out and collect that money that is overdue.”
Should a violator not pay after a third notice is sent they’ll be responsible for all prior toll and fees and the charges from a third-party collection agency.
After the third notice and collection agency involvement, the registered owner of the vehicle may be criminally charged with Failure to Pay Tolls. The charge is punishable with a $250 fine and court costs, in addition to the previous toll and administrative invoice fees.
It will take a few weeks for the NTTA billing system to catch up with the new law. “We won’t see this for a few weeks now”, explained Rey, “because the Zip Cash bills will go out as normal, after September 1st, and then we’ll start to see first notice of non-payment, second notice of non-payment cycles.”
The new penalty system does not affect TollTag customers who have money automatically deducted from their accounts.