State’s pursuit of tolls leaving Mass. drivers angry, frustrated

Virginia Gray could not believe what she was watching on NewsCenter 5 — a 5 Investigates report about the $122 million in unpaid tolls in Massachusetts since the state switched to all-electronic tolling in 2016.In the state’s eyes, she was one of those deadbeats — toll scofflaws that were leaving Massachusetts taxpayers in the red.The problem was Gray had paid her bill, but she just couldn’t convince the state that she had.”I paid it. There’s proof right there,” she said, pointing to her canceled check.Gray traveled on the Massachusetts Turnpike, also known as Interstate 90, in August and received a bill in the mail for her tolls the following month.”That’s when I paid it,” Gray said. Despite that, the letters from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) kept coming.”I got another bill the following month telling me I need to pay this bill. And then next month I got another bill — they’re attaching fees to it,” she said. “I thought: ‘This is crazy. Well, maybe I should just wait them out and see.’ And then the next bill came.”Gray is not the only one who contacted 5 Investigates after the story about unpaid tolls aired in November 2021.”I’m not a scofflaw. I want to pay my bill,” wrote one viewer.From another: “astronomic late fees” and “My $30 toll turned into an $800 bill.”Records from MassDOT show that 48% of the $122 million — or $58.2 million — in unpaid tolls are late fees.In a statement, MassDOT said: “Fines, fees and penalties for unpaid tolls… shall not exceed $500.00 per year, per registered vehicle.”The state has turned to debt collectors to help with the unpaid bills. The debt collectors brought in $42,086 in November, December and January.Gray tried to clear up the confusion with MassDOT, but to no avail.”And then in your story, they also talked about: ‘If you don’t pay it, they can go after you. When you go to register your car, they won’t allow you to register it.’ So I started getting really nervous,” Gray said.Gray tried everything and called MassDOT repeatedly.”I called them, and I was on hold for over an hour,” she said.Gray then tried to chat online with someone from the state.”I started to type out my message to them about what is going on, and all of a sudden, it’s gone,” she said.In response to a question from 5 Investigates about Gray’s bill, MassDOT said there was a portion of the bill for the return trip on the Mass Pike was still not paid, and that an invoice for the remainder, dated Jan. 26, has been mailed. When asked about the toll collection system MassDOT has in place, Gray said “it sucks.”

WELLFLEET, Mass. —

Virginia Gray could not believe what she was watching on NewsCenter 5 — a 5 Investigates report about the $122 million in unpaid tolls in Massachusetts since the state switched to all-electronic tolling in 2016.

In the state’s eyes, she was one of those deadbeats — toll scofflaws that were leaving Massachusetts taxpayers in the red.

The problem was Gray had paid her bill, but she just couldn’t convince the state that she had.

“I paid it. There’s proof right there,” she said, pointing to her canceled check.

Gray traveled on the Massachusetts Turnpike, also known as Interstate 90, in August and received a bill in the mail for her tolls the following month.

“That’s when I paid it,” Gray said.

Despite that, the letters from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) kept coming.

“I got another bill the following month telling me I need to pay this bill. And then next month I got another bill — they’re attaching fees to it,” she said. “I thought: ‘This is crazy. Well, maybe I should just wait them out and see.’ And then the next bill came.”

drivers are complaining that massdot is continuing to bill them for tolls after they have paid.

WCVB

Virginia Gray tried multiple times to communicate with MassDOT about her tolls, which she says she paid, but could  never get through.

Gray is not the only one who contacted 5 Investigates after the story about unpaid tolls aired in November 2021.

“I’m not a scofflaw. I want to pay my bill,” wrote one viewer.

From another: “astronomic late fees” and “My $30 toll turned into an $800 bill.”

Records from MassDOT show that 48% of the $122 million — or $58.2 million — in unpaid tolls are late fees.

In a statement, MassDOT said: “Fines, fees and penalties for unpaid tolls… shall not exceed $500.00 per year, per registered vehicle.”

The state has turned to debt collectors to help with the unpaid bills. The debt collectors brought in $42,086 in November, December and January.

Gray tried to clear up the confusion with MassDOT, but to no avail.

“And then in your story, they also talked about: ‘If you don’t pay it, they can go after you. When you go to register your car, they won’t allow you to register it.’ So I started getting really nervous,” Gray said.

Gray tried everything and called MassDOT repeatedly.

“I called them, and I was on hold for over an hour,” she said.

Gray then tried to chat online with someone from the state.

“I started to type out my message to them about what is going on, and all of a sudden, it’s gone,” she said.

In response to a question from 5 Investigates about Gray’s bill, MassDOT said there was a portion of the bill for the return trip on the Mass Pike was still not paid, and that an invoice for the remainder, dated Jan. 26, has been mailed.

When asked about the toll collection system MassDOT has in place, Gray said “it sucks.”

drivers are complaining that massdot is continuing to bill them for tolls after they have paid.

WCVB

Drivers have complained to 5 Investigates about bills for unpaid tolls that they say they have paid.

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