(Raleigh news Observer) Triangle Expressway drivers who don’t use electronic transponders have been hit this year with late fees and civil penalties worth hundreds of thousands of dollars – almost twice the actual tolls they were charged for using the new road.
Since TriEx opened in January in Research Triangle Park and western Wake County, the state Department of Transportation has levied $1.42 million in surcharges for drivers who did not promptly pay the bills they received by mail, for tolls worth $771,000.
It’s North Carolina’s first modern toll road, and one of the first in the nation to be built without cash toll collection booths. Some drivers have said they were puzzled when they opened toll bills for as little as 45 cents. They weren’t in a hurry to mail DOT checks that might be worth less than the postage.
But unpaid TriEx bills grow quickly. DOT tacks on a $6 late fee each month, and a $25 civil penalty after the second month.
About half the drivers on TriEx use N.C. Quick Pass transponders, and they have paid more than $707,000 in tolls this year. DOT collects its tolls automatically from debit accounts, after each trip. Quick Pass users are tolled at a lower rate, and they avoid late fees.
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