The Bay Area Toll Authority has decided it’s time to collect unpaid bridge tolls to the tune of $180 million.
The agency’s governing body, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, voted to crack down on hundreds of thousands of drivers who used the seven state-owned Bay Area bridges but did not pay the toll. It plans to collect $50 million in unpaid tolls and $130 million in late fees.
Most of those unpaid bills were mailed to people who used the bridges during the pandemic, when there were no workers in the toll booths. The tolls were waived for months after the pandemic started, but when the toll authority decided to reinstate them, it began sending bills in the mail.
The toll authority says about 396,000 drivers have outstanding tolls and late fees with bills ranging from $22 to $88. Another 101,000 drivers owe $110 to $418, and about 13,000 drivers face calls from collection agencies since they owe more than $1,600.
Advocates for low-income families say they’re concerned about how the crackdown will affect those who are barely making it or are living out of their cars, since lack of payment could lead to a hold on vehicle registration renewals.
But the plan has been approved, and notices for collections are expected to be mailed soon to those with outstanding fees to their name.
Source: NBC Bay Area