Bay Area Drivers Will Soon Need To Pay Back $184 Million In Bridge Toll Debt
You won’t be able to ignore your unpaid bridge tolls for much longer.
On June 8, the MTC’s Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) reached a consensus to begin the release of multiple toll infringements to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
This new development will hinder individuals who have ignored paying their fares from making car registration renewals until they clear their debts.
As stated by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), 396,000 drivers owe between $22 – $88, 101,000 drivers owe between $110 – $418, and 13,000 drivers owe over $1,600. And in most cases, sanctions are attached for late payment of these fines.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the agency stopped its strategy of passing on outstanding infringements to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
Furthermore, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission discontinued toll collectors, compelling drivers to make toll fee payments via FasTrak transponder or a bill delivered to the specific address their car registration falls under.
In recent times, the signals suggest a return to the pre-pandemic penalties for drivers who fail to pay to drive across any seven state-controlled bridges located in the Bay Area.
However, advocates are worried about the effect of these plans on low-income communities that depend majorly on their cars to execute their daily activities.
“DMV holds disproportionately affect low-income individuals. They should not be used at all,” Candy Smallwood, a staff attorney at the East Bay Community Law Center, said at the Bata meeting held on June 8th.
“The DMV holds force people to choose between breaking the lake and getting to work or to and from doctor’s appointments. DMV holds criminalizes poverty,” she concluded.
The agency is setting up a means-based payment strategy for low-income individuals (those with income below 200% of the federal government threshold) — around $27,000 yearly/individual, or $55,000 for every family of 4 — to stagger out their payments.
Critics of this strategy have indicated that these modifications still overlook many individuals with financial struggles who do not fall under this specified low-income category.
“I don’t even know how a family of four survives in the Bay Area on $55,000,” said Supervisor Hillary Ronen at the meeting held on June 8th.
MTC views the clampdown as an important way to get back the $50 million in toll fares and $134 million in late payment fees owed by individuals before the backlog of unpaid infringements expires in 2024.
“We’re obliged to be careful stewards of a vital public asset,” MTC spokesperson John Goodwin told SEGATE. “We have an obligation to fund voter-approved projects that are funded with toll dollars.”
John Goodwin anticipates the introductory non-commercial infringements notices to be passed on to the DMV by January 2023.
In the meantime, MTC will continue the implementation that executive director, Therese Millan, tagged as “a very aggressive public information campaign” to enlighten individuals about the low-income means-based payment plan some of them may never benefit from.
To avoid paying late fees in the future, you can download Upload, a toll payment app that makes life easier for you on toll roads or bridges, like Goethals bridge toll. With this app, you can finally throw your fears out of the window and take on any toll road confidently.
How Uproad Can Help You Avoid Future Toll Debts
Uproad can help pay tolls every day on your commute or even for road trips across state lines. This unique app allows you to use toll roads, avoid cash lanes, and conveniently pay tolls as you go. No delay!
And what’s more, you’ll receive up-to-date, detailed price estimate alerts that help you to plan your route quickly and smartly.
Finally, you can say goodbye to:
- Slow cash lanes
- Confusing toll rates
- Bills in the mail
- Payment uncertainty
- Unknown toll costs
- Hunting for change
- Surprise fines and fees
- Stopping to pay
Welcome to a whole new world of freedom on the road.
You can use this app to pay tolls on the road with ease. All you have to do is add your vehicle license plate and preferred toll charge payment method, and you are good to go.
Set it and forget it.
It’s that simple.
Want to pay your toll fees easily, track your toll road usages, and plan travel expenses, in a breeze?
Download the Uproad app right away.
You will be glad you did.