When politicians in Congress and state legislatures discuss ways to pay for new roads and bridges, tolls–essentially user fees–seem like a fair way to do it.
For drivers on the East Coast, EZ Pass is just one part of the landscape. The “cashless, open road tolling system” does away with manned toll booths, allowing drivers to pay tolls while passing under scanners at highway speeds on roads operated by 39 agencies in 17 states. Its implementation has improved the speed and safety of tolling transactions since drivers no longer have to stop at toll booths, which increases the risk of a rear end collision.
Even so, drivers in many states complain the systems still have glitches, especially with out of state drivers, leading to fines for late payment, consumer dissatisfaction, and even a class action lawsuit. The woes plague not just E-Z Pass, but organizations like New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), Florida’s “SunPass” system and others.
In several different states, drivers the systems have filed class action lawsuits against tolling authorities alleging that they misspent toll revenues or charged burdensome fines. In Pennsylvania, the National Motorists’ Association and the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association filed suit against the Pennsylvania Turnpike Association seeking refunds of tolls that they claim were illegally used to pay for public transit. The case could result in refunds of nearly $6 billion in tolls.