Strategy to address worst toll offenders
Starting this week there has been some unwelcome news in the mailbox for flagrant toll offenders who drive E-470 and the I-25 Express Lanes.
The owners of 279 vehicles are receiving letters notifying them that their eligibility to renew their vehicle registration with the Division of Motor Vehicles has been blocked until such time as they have paid tolls and associated fees and civil penalties. The registration renewal due date for the owners is in October.
This week’s vehicle registration hold notifications mark the beginning of ongoing notifications that will be sent out under a new initiative announced jointly on June 20 by E-470 and the High Performance Transportation Enterprise (a division of the Colorado Department of Transportation). HPTE operates the I-25 Express Lanes.
Each of the owners contacted had previously received a letter in early July notifying them that they are liable for at least $200 in unpaid tolls as established in an administrative hearing officer’s final order. The letter advised them of the steps they needed to take by September 1 to clear their obligations and avoid losing their eligibility to renew their registration.
Collectively at the time the program was announced in June, the group of targeted toll offenders represented 2,030 vehicles and more than $1 million in tolls, fees and civil penalties. Since then, owners of nine registered vehicles have contacted EXpressToll and paid what they owed, avoiding a vehicle registration hold. In addition to $1,430 in fees and civil penalties paid, $3,426.80 in tolls has been paid by those owners.
Because they are ineligible for registration renewal, owners with vehicle registration holds will not receive a vehicle registration renewal postcard from their county clerks. When they become eligible to make registration payments, the owners can only do so in person, not by mail or online.
According to E-470 Executive Director John McCuskey, “We are only targeting the most flagrant toll offenders, those who drive the road many times with no intention of ever paying. It’s theft of service and it is not fair to the thousands of toll road customers who pay their tolls.”
E-470 Deputy Executive Director and Director of Operations Dave Kristick said, “Placing a vehicle registration hold is the last resort. Before it gets to that stage, we hope customers who have not done so before will contact us, settle their outstanding accounts and be able to renew their vehicle registrations.” E-470 and HPTE are both offering extended payment options.
For more information and to pay full balances, call the ExpressToll Customer Service Center at (303) 537-3470, option #4, then option #5. The toll-free number is 888-946-3470.
The vehicle registration holds were made possible by Colorado law, CRS 43-4-506.5(7), that authorizes public highway authorities to report to the Department of Revenue any failure to pay the toll, fees, and civil penalty resulting from a hearing officer’s final order of liability. Under this statute, the Department of Revenue may not renew the vehicle registration until the tolls, fees, and civil penalty are paid in full.