Link to article that’s below here.
See previous article on video tolling here.
No toll too small
By Ben Wear
Austin American Statesman
January 4, 2007
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reminds us that so-called “video tolling,” the drive-now-get-billed-later tollway approach that the state said this week will be an option in Austin, holds the potential for embarrassment.
Reporter Gordon Dickson, in a Dec. 28 story, told readers about Don Ferguson, a military retiree who recently received a bill from the Texas Department of Transportation for 25 cents. Which cost the state 30.8 cents in postage to mail. This is probably not a fiscally sound approach for the state to take.
Mr. Ferguson had driven on Texas 121, a tollway with no toll booths that began charging folks Dec. 1. On that road, you either have to have a pre-paid toll tag or get billed after the fact based on a photo of your license late. The three Austin toll roads that begin charging Saturday (they opened for free a couple of months ago) do in fact have toll booths. But the state announced this week it will allow people without tags to drive on through the main lanes without stopping at those booths and be billed later, just like Texas 121 and a new toll road in Tyler.
Actually, the state plans to charge Texas 121 drivers an additional $1 if they get bills in the mail, but had waived that fee for the first month of bills. So, had Mr. Ferguson racked up that same 25 cent toll a month later, he would have had to pay $1.25 and the state wouldn’t have gone into the hole.
That same $1 processing charge will apply in Central Texas, agency spokeswoman Gaby Garcia tells us. But she said after you get your first such bill, you can call the tollway customer service center (1-888-468-9824) and begin getting bills via e-mail without the $1 charge.
All of which means some Central Texans may find themselves writing checks to Uncle TxDOT for 50 cents, the smallest possible toll on the Austin-area roads. If that sounds ridiculous, well, as Garcia pointed out, a debt to the state is a debt, no matter how small it is. If you don’t want to pay the toll, then don’t roll.