Central Texas tolling agency to go after habitual violators who have more than 100 unpaid tolls

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Drivers who regularly use toll facilities operated by the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority and rack up toll bills without paying can now expect some repercussions.

During Wednesday morning’s board meeting, the directors approved allowing the agency to use enforcement tools set out in a 2013 state bill for habitual toll violators with more than 100 unpaid tolls in a 12-month period. The Mobility Authority manages Toll 183A, Toll 290, SH 71 and the MoPac express lanes.

Tracie Brown, Mobility Authority director of toll operations, said the agency has 17,000 habitual toll violators with more than 100 unpaid tolls in one year. The two top offenders, both from Leander, each owe about $5,500 in unpaid tolls and administration fees.

“It’s not all fees that make up these balances that these customers owe,” Brown said. “They use the toll road so frequently their toll balances are quite high.”

Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein said the Mobility Authority does take some toll violation cases to court, but taking all 17,000 cases could inundate the justice of the peace courts.

“We’re going to shake the bushes for everything we can, including in-lane enforcement,” he said. “If we find someone driving on the toll [road]and they owe tolls, they could get pulled over. This is one list you don’t want to qualify for.”

The agency also set forth a timeline to seek remedies for habitual toll violators who have more than 100 nonpaid tolls in one year and have received two notices of nonpayment.

  • Sept. 27: The board approves the new habitual violator policy
  • Oct. 15: The agency issues letters to habitual violators with a warning that it may seek remedies if they do not pay their tolls.
  • Nov. 14: Violators have until this date to respond to the advisory letter.
  • Nov. 16: The agency mails pre-determination letter to habitual violators
  • Dec. 17: Violators have until this date to appeal.
  • Dec. 19: Board approves a list to print the names of habitual toll violators and to send them a notice of prohibition order.
  • January: The agency prints the names of violators, their city and state, the number of unpaid tolls, and the total amount due. The notices of prohibition are mailed, explaining the violator is banned from using Mobility Authority facilities.
  • February: Road enforcement begins and habitual violators may be pulled over. A hold may be placed on the violator’s vehicle registration.

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COMMENT
  1. Here’s a question: Why does it take over “100” unpaid violations for someone to show up on the radar? I mean, isn’t what these violators doing is essentially “stealing” from the toll authority? Last I checked, stealing (theft) is a crime punishable by fines and/or imprisonment.

  2. Less Government

    WHY are residents paying TWICE for roads? we already pay taxes and then have to pay MORE to use them?? toll roads should not even exist.
    second, WTF are people going to JAIL? this is a victimless crime and being arrested and jail is ludicrous.

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Amy Denney
Amy has been reporting in community journalism since 2007. She worked in the Chicago suburbs for three years before migrating south and joined Community Impact Newspaper in September 2010. Amy has been editor of the Northwest Austin publication since August 2012 and she is also the transportation beat reporter for the Austin area.
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