News

Bay Area Toll Authority to seek over $180M in unpaid bridge tolls, late fees

Those with outstanding fees can expect to receive notices in the mail

The eastern span of the Bay Bridge seen from Treasure Island on Sept. 2, 2020. Courtesy Ray Saint Germain/Bay City News.

The Bay Area Toll Authority will try to collect more than $180 million in unpaid bridge tolls, which breaks down to about $50 million in unpaid tolls and $130 million in late fees, after its Oversight Committee voted Wednesday to crack down on more than 400,000 drivers.

The plan is approved and people with outstanding fees to their name are expected to receive notices in the mail soon.

Low-income communities are worried about the fees. State Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, said in a statement Thursday that Bay Area drivers should not be penalized because BATA chose to remove their operators from the tolls at Bay Area bridges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The Bay Area Toll Authority should have identified these drivers sooner to provide earlier notice and create payment plan options ... the switch to using technology to pay tolls has disproportionately impacted drivers who don't have debit or credit cards. Now many drivers who rely on their vehicles for work or to bring their kids to school may face not being able to renew their DMV registrations," Ting said.

Ting said he is glad to see that BATA plans to use elements from his Assembly Bill 2594, which allows low-income communities to set up payment plans. But he urges BATA to adopt other reforms in the bill to ensure Bay Area drivers can be treated "fairly and equitably."

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

After toll collectors were removed from the bridges, drivers could pay either electronically with a FasTrak toll tag, a one-time online payment process, or receive a notice by mail if they don't have a transponder. However, the system didn't account for notices that were lost in the mail or sent to the wrong address, according to Ting's office.

Ting also calls on express lane and toll roads agencies to offer a cash payment option, cap fines and late fees, establish payment plans for both fines and penalties, and set a minimum time period to pay fines before car registration is suspended for nonpayment.

He said the DMV must notify people to change the address on their vehicle registration for their driver's license. Consequently, car rental agencies would be required to provide customers with information about toll agencies' charges and payment options, Ting said.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Follow Mountain View Voice Online on Twitter @mvvoice, Facebook and on Instagram @mvvoice for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Bay Area Toll Authority to seek over $180M in unpaid bridge tolls, late fees

Those with outstanding fees can expect to receive notices in the mail

by Dania Kalaji / Bay City News Foundation /

Uploaded: Mon, Jun 13, 2022, 10:33 am

The Bay Area Toll Authority will try to collect more than $180 million in unpaid bridge tolls, which breaks down to about $50 million in unpaid tolls and $130 million in late fees, after its Oversight Committee voted Wednesday to crack down on more than 400,000 drivers.

The plan is approved and people with outstanding fees to their name are expected to receive notices in the mail soon.

Low-income communities are worried about the fees. State Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, said in a statement Thursday that Bay Area drivers should not be penalized because BATA chose to remove their operators from the tolls at Bay Area bridges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The Bay Area Toll Authority should have identified these drivers sooner to provide earlier notice and create payment plan options ... the switch to using technology to pay tolls has disproportionately impacted drivers who don't have debit or credit cards. Now many drivers who rely on their vehicles for work or to bring their kids to school may face not being able to renew their DMV registrations," Ting said.

Ting said he is glad to see that BATA plans to use elements from his Assembly Bill 2594, which allows low-income communities to set up payment plans. But he urges BATA to adopt other reforms in the bill to ensure Bay Area drivers can be treated "fairly and equitably."

After toll collectors were removed from the bridges, drivers could pay either electronically with a FasTrak toll tag, a one-time online payment process, or receive a notice by mail if they don't have a transponder. However, the system didn't account for notices that were lost in the mail or sent to the wrong address, according to Ting's office.

Ting also calls on express lane and toll roads agencies to offer a cash payment option, cap fines and late fees, establish payment plans for both fines and penalties, and set a minimum time period to pay fines before car registration is suspended for nonpayment.

He said the DMV must notify people to change the address on their vehicle registration for their driver's license. Consequently, car rental agencies would be required to provide customers with information about toll agencies' charges and payment options, Ting said.

Comments

Dan Waylonis
Registered user
Jackson Park
on Jun 13, 2022 at 2:36 pm
Dan Waylonis, Jackson Park
Registered user
on Jun 13, 2022 at 2:36 pm

"Equitable" treatment is when you use a service, you pay the same rate as everybody else. So much pandering and hand-wringing in CA politics.


Bernie Brightman
Registered user
Whisman Station
on Jun 14, 2022 at 10:41 pm
Bernie Brightman, Whisman Station
Registered user
on Jun 14, 2022 at 10:41 pm

So is this why I'm suddenly seeing a VTA violation from over a year ago that I don't even remember having suddenly showing up on my DMV renewal? If not, what is the story with that and what can one do to figure it out? Check your DMV renewals before you automatically pay them, folks.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.