The Bay Area Toll Authority will seek to collect more than $180 million in unpaid bridge tolls, about $50 million in unpaid tolls and $130 million in late fees, after its oversight committee voted Wednesday to crack down on more than 400,000 drivers.
The plan is approved and people with outstanding fees in their name should soon receive notices in the mail.
Low-income communities worry about fees. State Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, said in a statement Thursday that Bay Area drivers should not be penalized because BATA chose to remove its operators from bridge tolls of the Bay Area in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Bay Area Toll Authority should have identified these drivers earlier to provide earlier notice and create payment plan options…the shift to using technology to pay tolls has had a disproportionate impact on drivers who don’t have a debit or credit card. Now many drivers who rely on their vehicles to work or to get their kids to school may not be able to renew their DMV registrations,” Ting said.
Ting said he’s glad to see that BATA plans to use elements of its Assembly Bill 2594, which allows low-income communities to set up payment plans. But he urges BATA to enact further reforms in the bill to ensure Bay Area drivers can be treated “fairly and equitably”.