Drivers get grace period to pay back millions in back-tolls to Maryland

Thousands of Maryland drivers are still peeved about a bill they got last spring with an unexpectedly high balance. The pandemic delayed the state’s ability to send out invoices for toll payments, but now it’s offering drivers a reprieve.

When those bills went out to Maryland drivers starting last March with backlogged balances, most drivers were not happy, but some were unable to pay a lump sum owed for using state toll roads. Gov. Larry Hogan asked the state transit agency to offer relief, and effective immediately, drivers are getting just that.

“This civil penalty waiver grace period waives all civil penalties for customers who pay all their unpaid tolls by midnight on Nov. 30, 2022,” said Will Pines, acting director of the Maryland Transportation Authority.

In announcing a new customer assistance plan at a board meeting on Feb. 24, Pines said along with offering a nine-month grace period for payment, effective immediately the agency won’t refer any past due balances to collections.

“For every unpaid video toll transaction that is paid in full, the corresponding civil penalty would be waived,” he added as another prong of the plan.

Because the MDTA Board action is effective Feb. 24, the civil penalty waiver grace period is not retroactive, and customers should note the following key dates, according to a release from MDTA:

  • Payments made/postmarked before Feb. 24, 2022: Civil penalties that are already paid will not be reimbursed.
  • Payments made/postmarked Feb. 24 — Nov. 30, 2022: For every unpaid toll transaction paid in full, the corresponding civil penalty will be waived. Additionally, no toll debt will be referred to CCU or MDOT MVA.
  • Feb. 24 — Mid-March 2022: Civil penalties will be waived for each paid toll, but civil penalties remain on accounts until the software changes are in place to reflect the waiver.
  • Mid-March: The system functionality for the waiver grace period will be completed, allowing customers to confirm online that their penalties are being waived following full toll payment.
  • Nov. 30, 2022, at 11:59 p.m.: Civil penalty waiver grace period ends.
  • Dec. 1, 2022: All unpaid tolls and civil penalties are due based on the printed due dates, and toll debt referrals to CCU and MDOT MVA resume.
Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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