I-Team: A Free Ride on our Toll Roads

Connecticut drivers are the biggest offenders in Massachusetts

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Drivers from every state owe Massachusetts money and there’s not much the state can do to enforce the penalties. A 22News I-Team investigation revealed that drivers owe Massachusetts more than $23 million for outstanding toll violations.

The I-Team setup two cameras at a toll booth and it doesn’t take long to see drivers going through the EZ-Pass lane; the light doesn’t go off and we don’t see any visible transponder in their car. The I-Team went to MassDOT headquarters in Boston to get some answers.

Frank DePaola is in charge of MassDOT and oversees all our highways. “For a Massachusetts registered driver or registered vehicle in Massachusetts we can actually enforce the toll collection at their next transaction at the RMV,” said DePaola.

Massachusetts also has a similar deal in place with Maine and New Hampshire, and recovered more than $11 million in 2013, but there’s no way for Massachusetts to enforce these fines for drivers from other states. It can be a free ride.

Each year drivers from across the country get away with not paying around $5 million in tolls to Massachusetts. The I-Team asked DePaola if “Connecticut drivers are the biggest offenders in Massachusetts?” He replied, “They are.” Connecticut drivers, last year alone owe Massachusetts more than $1 million. It’s not just neighboring states, Florida drivers haven’t paid more than $300,000 worth of tolls and fines from 2013.

tollsiteam

(Connecticut does not have tolls currently, has their been any discussion about a reciprocity deal where both states benefit?) “We’ve reached out to them with our reciprocity agreement. There has not been any substantive discussions about innovative ways to have them come on board. I think Connecticut is very interested in it because going forward we feel the future of transportation financing might authorize more tolling,” said DePaola.

Connecticut State Representative Tony Guerrera has been fighting to add tolls in Connecticut. “We never had a reciprocity put in place, because we never had tolling in place. I think if we did have one in place that conversation has to occur,” said Rep. Guerrera.

(Realistically, do you think without having tolls in place that will ever happen?) “I do believe it could happen, the conversation could happen. Anytime you talk about getting monies back to the state there’s always room for a dialogue,” said Guerrera.

If you don’t have an EZ Pass transponder, you currently have the option to get a ticket to pay. In the Fall of 2016, Massachusetts expects to do away with toll booths, eliminating that option.

“We do expect the amount of toll avoidance or toll non-payment to go up  If we can relieve the congestion and we don’t collect all the tolls that we think we’re due and it’s a better ride, less congestion we feel it’s an overall benefit to the Commonwealth,” said DePaola.

When electronic tolling begins in Massachusetts, if you don’t have a transponder, you’ll get a monthly bill based on your license. If you want to see how much drivers from each state owe Massachusetts for uncollected tolls, search below:

Comments are closed.