The toll on the Intercounty Connector might be no more than $6, but delinquent users of the road could find their drivers’ licenses suspended if they don’t pay up.
After reports in September that the state was missing out on nearly $7 million in uncollected tolls, lawmakers in Annapolis made adjustments to the law during the legislative session.
“What we needed to do was get a law that matched what we’re doing [with video tolls on the ICC],” said Harold Bartlett, executive secretary of the Maryland Transportation Authority, which administers toll collections in the state.
The ICC, an 18-mile toll road running between I-270 in Gaithersburg and I-95 in Laurel, has only electronic tolling facilities.
Drivers with an E-ZPass transponder pay a maximum of $4 one way. Drivers without the transponder can still course the ICC, but a video will be taken of their vehicle, and they will receive a notice with a maximum $6 bill for the toll.
Effective July 1, drivers who don’t pay video tolls within 30 days will be subjected to a $50 citation. If that’s not paid, the driver’s registration will be flagged, and he or she will not be able to renew their driver’s license without paying the fine. If a driver racks up $1,000 or more in fees and civil citations, his or her driver’s license will be suspended.
“That’s the real teeth for us,” Bartlett said.
Under the previous law, toll users who did not pay immediately using cash or an E-ZPass were considered toll violators, and $50 citations could be issued immediately. But no timeline addressed video tolls, so citations were not issued. Without issuing citations, the state could not suspend or refuse to renew drivers’ licenses. Thus, there were no consequences for failing to pay.
“The old statute really impeded our ability to collect the tolls,” Bartlett said. “The technology outpaced the statute.”
Drivers with current outstanding video toll fees will be issued a new notice after July 1, and will have 30 days to pay before receiving a civil citation.
The new rules are not intended to scare drivers away from using the road, Bartlett said.
“We want people to use the video toll,” Bartlett said. “It’s for those people who don’t have an E-ZPass and maybe only travel the road once or twice a year.”
Bartlett said the administration is considering using electronic-only tolls at two other locations in the state: the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge on U.S. 40 over the Susquehanna River and the Francis Scott Key Bridge on I-695 over the Patapsco River.