The Bay Area Toll Authority will try to collect more than $180 million in unpaid bridge tolls, about $50 million comes from unpaid tolls and $130 million in late fees, after its Oversight Committee voted Wednesday to crack down on more than 400,000 drivers.
The plan is approved and people with outstanding fees to their name are expected to receive notices in the mail soon.
Low-income communities are worried about the fees. State Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, said in a statement Thursday that Bay Area drivers should not be penalized because BATA chose to remove their operators from the tolls at Bay Area bridges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The Bay Area Toll Authority should have identified these drivers sooner to provide earlier notice and create payment plan options ... the switch to using technology to pay tolls has disproportionately impacted drivers who don't have debit or credit cards. Now many drivers who rely on their vehicles for work or to bring their kids to school may face not being able to renew their DMV registrations," Ting said.
Ting said he is glad to see that BATA plans to use elements from his Assembly Bill 2594, which allows low-income communities to set up payment plans. But he urges BATA to adopt other reforms in the bill to ensure Bay Area drivers can be treated "fairly and equitably." ...