Thursday, August 26, 2010

E-470 Board Approves Plan to Help Toll Violators Avoid Civil Penalties

Delinquent accounts to be given fresh start

Aurora – Today (Thursday, August 26), the E-470 Public Highway Authority board of directors approved a concept that would press the reset button for delinquent accounts by allowing customers to pay only their tolls that are currently in the toll violation or collection process and avoid the accumulation of civil penalties, court costs, and collection fees, which for some customers has totaled hundreds of dollars or more.

“We are doing everything we can to help customers clear their accounts and avoid civil penalties. Our main goal is to collect the tolls,” said Jo Snell, public information officer.

Beginning next month, and for the next several months, all delinquent accounts will be re-billed for all unpaid tolls incurred on or after January 1, 2009. Customers will be given the chance to settle their accounts by simply paying their unpaid tolls, thus avoiding a $25 per transaction civil penalty fine, a $20 per transaction court fee, and collection fees.

Beginning Friday, August 27, customers may pay their overdue tolls immediately by calling the EXpressToll Service Center at 303-537-3470, option 3; or online payment for the overdue tolls will be available sometime in September.

If the first, re-issued statement is paid within 30 days, there is no late fee. If the first re-issued statement is not paid on time, a second statement is sent that includes a single $5 late fee. If no payment is made by the end of the second 30-day period, then the account is referred to collections for up to 90 days. If still unpaid (after 150 days or nearly five months), the customer then becomes subject to civil penalty fines and court fees.

Statements are sent to the vehicle owner’s address on file with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Drivers are required to promptly inform the DMV of an address change. Jo Snell stressed that when vehicle owners move, they must update their vehicle registration. Colorado law requires the update within 30 days. Updating their driver’s license address does not update the required vehicle registration information.

John McCuskey, acting executive director said, “On average, approximately 81,000 drivers every month become first-time License Plate Toll customers.” He added there are now about 100,000 delinquent accounts in collection that will benefit from the new plan. McCuskey said that 96 percent of all E-470 toll transactions – including License Plate Tolls and EXpressToll tolls – are eventually paid.

This will be the next step in a process initiated earlier this year to help phase out existing collection policies and procedures that can result in hundreds of dollars or more in administrative fees, civil penalties, and court costs. The measures implemented so far include:

* An opportunity was provided to have the $70 civil penalty for each unpaid toll transaction waived if toll violators paid their tolls and administrative fees by June 2.
* On June 3, the civil penalty for each unpaid toll transaction was permanently reduced from $70 to $25.
* Also on June 3, the $7 administrative fee per toll transaction for past-due tolls was eliminated. There is now a single $5 late fee on a second License Plate Toll statement covering all past-due tolls during a billing cycle.

Soon E-470 will make it easier for License Plate Toll customers to take control of their toll payments through establishing an online account. Details on this will be announced in early September.

E-470 is a tollway that runs along the eastern perimeter of the Denver metropolitan area. The 70-mph highway extends 47 miles from State Highway C-470 at I-25 in Douglas County, ending at I-25 just south of 160th Ave., in Thornton.

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