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October 15, 2013
TxDOT PREPARES TO PUBLISH NAMES OF TOP TOLL VIOLATORS

AUSTIN — Moving forward with its initiative to collect millions of dollars in unpaid tolls, the Texas Department of Transportation today reminds habitual toll violators that they have until noon on Wednesday to avoid having their names shared with the news media and published on TxDOT and TxTag websites beginning on Thursday. Authority to publicly report the names of violators was provided by Senate Bill 1792 in an effort to collect more than $27 million in unpaid tolls.

The primary targets for collection are the 28,000 vehicle owners who each have at least 100 unpaid tolls. Some of these offenders have vehicles with thousands of toll violations, which add up to money intended to be used to pay debt and fund operations on these roads. Published listings of toll violators will include the violator’s name, city and state of residence, number of unpaid tolls and total amount owed in tolls and fees.

In addition to publishing the list of top violators, TxDOT also has the authority to:
Ban vehicles from using TxDOT toll roads with Texas Transportation Commission approval. If stopped by law enforcement, vehicles in violation of the ban can be ticketed and impounded.
Report the habitual violators to county tax assessor-collectors to potentially block the renewal of the vehicle’s registration.

Motorists with unpaid toll violations should immediately contact the TxTag Customer Service Center at (888) 468-9824 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays. A negotiated settlement amount may be offered as well as a payment plan, if needed.

For media inquiries, contact TxDOT Media Relations at MediaRelations@txdot.gov or
(512) 463-8700.

October 02, 2013
TxDOT BEGINS ENFORCEMENT OF NEW ‘SCOFFLAW’ LEGISLATION TO ADDRESS OVERDUE TOLL PAYMENTS

AUSTIN — The Texas Department of Transportation announced today it is notifying the top toll violators and giving them a deadline to pay their overdue tolls or be included on a list the agency will publish in the next two weeks. Authority to report the names of violators publicly and other powers were provided by Senate Bill 1792 passed in the recent legislative session. Drivers owe more than $27 million in unpaid tolls—money that will be used to pay debt and fund operations on these roads.

“Ensuring that chronic toll scofflaws pay their share on Texas toll facilities is the right thing to do. It is unfair to ask lawful toll road users to offset the revenue lost to those who abuse the system,” said Larry Phillips, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee. “I applaud this action and am glad money collected will go toward paying debt and operations.”

“Everyone using our state’s toll roads is responsible for paying to use them. Chronic violators are ultimately taking from the majority of motorists who do things right and pay their tolls,” said Senator Kirk Watson, the author of SB 1792. "The bipartisan support for SB 1792 reflects how strongly the legislature feels about going after toll road abusers who are looking for a free ride.”

“We hope drivers will respond to our requests to pay their tolls, but if not, it’s only fair to the vast majority of compliant toll road users that we collect tolls owed from habitual violators,” said James Bass, TxDOT’s chief financial officer. “We’re optimistic that the new enforcement tools granted to us by SB 1792 will encourage toll violators to come forward so we can work with them to recover an appropriate settlement.”

The primary targets for collection are the owners of some 28,000 vehicles that have each recorded at least 100 unpaid tolls in a 12 month period. Beginning this week, TxDOT will once again contact, by letter, violators with the largest balances of past-due and unpaid tolls or administrative fees to arrange for payment. Some of these offenders have vehicles with thousands of toll violations. Those who fail to respond to this notice will have their names posted on TxDOT and TxTag websites and shared with the news media. The web listings will include the violator’s name, city and state of residence, number of unpaid tolls and total amount owed in tolls and fees.

In the past, TxDOT has been limited to sending repeated invoices or seeking restitution thro

August 30, 2012
Texas Transportation Commission Waives Fee for Select Veterans Driving on State Toll Roads

AUSTIN — In a gesture to honor those men and women who have made great personal sacrifices to ensure our freedom and protect our nation, the Texas Transportation Commission today approved granting free passage for select veterans on several Texas toll roads. The decision will benefit veterans who are either disabled or recipients of the Purple Heart and/or Congressional Medal of Honor.

In central Texas, those toll roads where some veterans will be able to drive free of charge include Loop 1, SH 45 North, SH 45 Southeast and SH 130 (Segments 1-4) in the Austin area. Additionally, qualified veterans will be able to travel free of charge on the Camino Colombia, which is SH 255 near Laredo and Loop 49 in Tyler.

House Bill 3139, passed by the Legislature in 2009 and enacted in the Transportation Code (Section 372.053), stated that the state’s toll authorities may develop a discount program for various veterans.

Governor Rick Perry recently called on the Transportation Commission to begin implementing a program that would help support Texas veterans getting around Texas with less financial burden.

"Our veterans are motivated by a higher calling that is rooted in the fundamental values of our nation," Gov. Perry said. "In Texas, we understand and appreciate the sacrifices the men and women of our armed forces make in defense of our freedom, and we consider it an honor to support them."

Currently, there are 7,360 specialty license plates indicating drivers are disabled vets, Purple Heart and Congressional Medal of Honor recipients in Travis, Williamson and Hays counties closest to the central Texas toll roads. Statewide there are 160,666 similar specialty plates.

"We are able to celebrate our freedom each and every day due to the unwavering sacrifice of our military’s brave men and women, so making it a bit easier for them to move through our great state is the least we can do," said Phil Wilson, Executive Director of TxDOT. "We thank Texas veterans for their service and hope the free use of our toll roads recognizes the price they paid for our freedom."

The latest estimates show the cost of managing this program to be less than $1 million annually. The Transportation Commission has asked TxDOT to implement this program for qualified veterans by Jan. 1, 2013.

For more information, contact TxDOT Media Relations at MediaRelations@txdot.gov or (512) 463-8700.

January 04, 2012
Truck Toll Promotion on SH 130, SH 45SE this Holiday Season: Bypass I-35 in Austin for $9 or less

TxDOT Truck Toll Promotion on SH 130, SH 45SE Extended through January 25 Initial results show 39 percent increase in truck transactions in past two weeks AUSTIN

– You asked—we listened. All truck tolls will remain $9 or less on the 56-mile State Highway 130 and SH 45SE bypass around Austin through Wednesday, January 25, 2012.
After numerous requests and initial program success, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will extend its truck toll promotion for three weeks. The original two-week promotion started December 21, 2011 and was slated to end January 4, 2012.

All motorists who choose to avoid traffic congestion through the Austin area and travel nonstop between Georgetown and Buda on the SH 130/SH 45SE toll bypass will continue to pay the passenger vehicle (two-axle) toll rate of $9 or less through January 25. For trucks with four axles or more, this means a savings of more than 67 percent.

Initial results show that truck transactions increased more than 39 percent on both SH 130 and SH 45SE, as well as indicating a 10 percent increase for passenger vehicles for the same period over the previous year.

I-35, from SH 71 to US 183, is the fourth-most highly congested roadway in Texas. Last year,
families on vacation, commuters traveling to work, and truckers working to get their shipments to market on-time experienced more than 4.6 million hours of delay. The state-of-the-art network of tollways was built to offer an alternative to Austin-area traffic congestion, while enhancing safety and connectivity.

Please see more details about this promotion at Truck Toll Promotion on SH 130, SH 45SE this Holiday Season.

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