Mass. Ditches Honor System To Crack Down On Toll Evaders

By Joe Shortsleeve, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – Drivers who evade tolls end up costing honest drivers more. Getting them to pay up has been a challenge, particularly for those from out of state.

Massachusetts is joining forces with New Hampshire and Maine so each state can have better luck getting scofflaws to pay.

Up until now, Massachusetts would send a notice to an out of state driver outlining the fines and tolls owed, but Transportation Secretary Richard Davey says they relied on an honor system. “If they didn’t pay us, if they didn’t write us a check and send it in, there was really no way for us to go across the border and collect that toll,” he explained.

WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve reports

Those tolls added up. Last year, more than a quarter million out of state drivers evaded Massachusetts tolls. The total in lost toll revenue was more than $800,000, but Davey says that’s just part of the story. “When we add in the toll violations, it is in the millions. We are talking anywhere from 5-10 million dollars on an annual basis.”

The new agreement among the three states is a potent tool, according to Davey. “If a person does not pay us and has a certain amount of violations, New Hampshire will stop their license and registration renewal until they pay that toll violation in Massachusetts. And vice versa, if you are a Massachusetts resident who hasn’t been paying your fair share in Maine or New Hampshire, we will hold up your license and registration here in the Commonwealth.”

The vast majority of drivers are honest and pay their tolls, but the millions of dollars the dishonest drivers are skipping out on end up costing all of us more.

Christopher Waszczuk with the New Hampshire Bureau of Turnpikes says the losses to his system total more than a million dollars.

When asked if a large number of violations could mean honest drivers could pay more at the toll booth down the line, he said absolutely.

  • chilitokid

    And every time NH residents see a Mass politician stocking up on alcohol we’ll take pictures and plaster them all over the internet.

  • 1stackmack

    how about getting rid of the toll roads in general than we won’t waist money going after toll violaters.just a thought.if you register a heavy commercial vehicle you pay a road use tax for every mile driven in every state.if your on a toll road,you pay the toll and the same in road use every year.that double dipping kids.going back to road use tax.if your in massachusetts,you still have to have IFTA registration to cover every state you plan on running in. remember back in the 70’s trucks had a licence plate for every state.well the IFTA sticker on the side window takes the place of the plates..

    • your state 5ux

      So how else could you pay for road repair, oh I know raise taxes! At least your advacating the raise of taxes and more taxes

    • Ethernet

      what a dumb idea

  • 1stackmack

    the mass pike use to be a nice smooth road.major repairs or construction use to be done at night.and was the direct interstate to the rest of the country.its still the most used route outta here.but it just like a massachusetts highways.pothole ridden,lanes strips you can’t see in the rain.and endless daytime construction projects.theirs and old picture from the 60’s in a truck book l have of an old autocar pulling a set of turnpike double trailers out of the weston toll plaza.the sign in the pix hasn’t changed in some 50 years..

  • DCrlio

    I thought the Mass Turnpike was suppose to be a “Temporary Toll” until the road was paid for. Time to stand by your word Massachusetts and remove the toll. Don’t be greedy now!

  • Sketchy the Clown

    WBZ TV should do a story on how much free money they make by making mistakes on the FAST LANE bills.I find at least one mistake in their favor, every month. And I only have 10-15 transactions a month. I can only imagine how many mistakes they make on the people that use the Pike frequently. I am sure that they know that a lot of people don’t check their bills. They are making MILLION$ in free money! Please do a story on how much money they are raking in their own mistakes..

  • Allym

    The make a killing.. if you accidently use a FASTLANE lane they hit you with a $50.00 fine. Really? in NH it’s like a dollar. Then it jumps to $75.00 if you don’t pay in 30 days or forget to challenge it. Make the fees reasonable and people won’t have to decide between food and toll charges. This state doesn’t have a revenue problem it has a government spending problem.

    I agree with mack, truckers pay a large portion of the cost already with IRP, IFTA, 2290, permits etc.

    • Ethernet

      decided between paying the toll and driving? really?? if it comes down to paying the toll and eating, you can’t afford to drive and should stay off the roads
      If you don’t, your just being a moron

  • web

    If everyone just paid the tolls, there wouldn’t be a need for fastlane fines, etc., the real problem in almost all the budget issues is fraud. Some people do not pay, then the ones that do express outrage when fees go up… they should be outraged at those who cheat the system (i.e, welfare fraud, pension fraud, disability fraud, social security fraud)’s the same…if we catch the cheats, we wouldn’t have a budget problem.

  • Dagobert II

    OMG, they’ll suspend your license and registration!!! Nobody needs any of that anyway if they’re only exercising their right of travel, as most people do, rather than driving, which is a commercial activity.

    • Ethernet

      Travel is NOT a right, its not in the constitution. It is a privilege, period.

  • idiotchild

    how the heck is this costing honest drivers more? it’s not the toll system gives drivers any incentives or products.

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