Just short of a year after MassDOT first rolled out its all-electronic tolling system for the Tobin Bridge, Secretary Stephanie Pollack announced a change to its fine structure, as well as a 30-day amnesty period for violators starting June 1.
The amnesty period will allow motorists to simply pay the amount of outstanding tolls and have all late payment fines waived. It follows an investigation by WBZ-TV’s I-Team, who found the system’s late-fee structure can cause fines to snowball into exorbitant sums in a hurry. One woman’s 24 trips across the Tobin—if paid on time, should have been $72—grew to $4,569.
“The goal of the program should be payment, not punishment,” Pollack said in a release. “We can ensure that our customers pay their tolls with much smaller late payment fines that are fair, reasonable, and will not result in substantial charges to people who may have missed the notifications. And no one will ever incur more than $500 per year in late payment fees.”
The all-electronic tolling system uses a two-pronged approach, combining EZ-Pass transponders with license plate recognition technology called Pay-By-Plate, which sends invoices via mail, to eliminate the need for cash when crossing the Tobin Bridge.
“This new structure is the result of a thorough review that incorporated a substantial amount of public feedback into the final product,” MassDOT Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin said in the release. “At the end of the day, our goal is to collect tolls, and we feel that this new structure is a way to ensure that continues without unduly burdening drivers with substantial fines.”
Under the new fine structure, a $1 late-fee will be added to every unpaid Pay-By-Plate toll after an invoice goes unpaid for 30 days, with an additional $1 added to each toll transaction after 60 days of non-payment, and another $1 after 90 days. Each unpaid Tobin Bridge toll transaction will be capped at $6, at which point the vehicle owner’s driver’s license and vehicle registration will be placed in a non-renew status until the toll balance and fines are settled. In addition, there will be a $20 fee to remove the hold on driver’s license and vehicle registration renewals.
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