A price to be paid

Texas has come up with an ingenious way of attempting to raise more than $27 million to help fund its road network: name and shame those drivers avoiding toll payments.

A recent statement from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) said it had the names of 28,000 vehicle owners who had each racked up at least 100 unpaid tolls. In an effort to get them to pay up, TxDOT has threatened to make use of Senate Bill 1792 – giving it authorisation to publicly report the names of violators.

The Department gave those on its list a deadline to hand over what was owed before names would be “shared with the news media and published on TxDOT and TxTag websites”.

The organisation says some individuals have failed to pay tolls on at least 1,000 occasions and thinks that, if all the dues are collected, it can put a chunky $27 million towards the payment of debt and the funding of road operations.

It went on to say that lists of toll violators would include the violator’s name, their city and state of residence, the number of unpaid tolls and the amount owed in tolls and fees.

Furthermore, TxDOT says it also has authority to ban vehicles from Texas toll roads with Texas Transportation Commission approval. Vehicles stopped and found to be in violation of the ban can be ticketed and impounded. In addition, habitual offenders may be reported to tax-assessor collectors to block the renewal of vehicle registrations.

For those of you thinking this is all a bit harsh, TxDOT goes on to reveal a soft side. The organisation points out that a “negotiated settlement amount may be offered as well as a payment plan, if needed”.