A series of articles this week shined a spotlight on the widespread problems of tolling, including accounts of drivers zapped with thousands of dollars in fines due to malfunctioning transponders.
Fox 5 Chief Investigative Reporter Emily Miller has been examining the fines given to E-ZPass drivers who use the 495 Express Lanes near Washington, D.C., and called them a “widespread problem.”
Miller’s series began with a recent story about Joe Mischler who faced a whopping $17,000 fine for $36 in unpaid tolls, but has since uncovered countless similar stories from readers who say the fines are a “racket” and that they feel “bamboozled.”
Citing just one of many examples, tolling operator Transurban fined Elise Pizarro nearly $10,000 for less than $30 in tolls after the tolling gantries failed to register some of her trips.
In another Fox article, retired Marine Heath Silcot faced a hefty fine after proceeding through a toll plaza in Maryland as part of a massive procession to escort a fallen soldier’s body home.
In exploring the future of toll roads in the United States on National Public Radio, radio personality Diane Rehm said, “I think tolls roads are the growing bane of travelers’ existence.”
The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, reported that a political backlash is rising against tolls, including in Texas, one of the states that most aggressively encouraged toll-road construction, as residents realize that many major urban freeways are increasingly no longer free.
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