Great news for thousands of drivers hit with extra charges by the Good to Go tolling system. Washington Department of Transportation is dropping all civil penalties. Drivers will still have to pay the original toll but not the fees and civil penalties.
“We’ve already dealt with some of these customers. They’re very excited about this. It’s helping them. They better understand the program and they’re glad that they don’t have to go through the whole process with the judges,” said WSDOT Toll Operations Director Patty Rubstello.
The problem has been people getting hit with civil penalties when they didn’t get their toll bills because of mail issues. Mix-ups were happening between the Department of Licensing which has driver’s addresses and Good to Go which uses that information to send notices. That what happened to Amanda Brown who owed $4,000.
“I didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, I proactively did everyting right. I provided my address multiple times to make sure everything was correct. We bought a good to go pass because we knew we’d be going over the bridge regularly, we monitored the account,” explained Brown.
Here’s how the new program will work. Call Good to Go if you have a civil penalty and it will waive the civil penalty if you pay the tolls.
**The toll violator will have 20 days to pay the tolls on their civil penalty or a hold will be placed on their vehicle registration.**
The billing structure and the $40 civil penalty remain the same. The registered owner of a vehicle receives a bill in the mail within two weeks of using a toll facility. They have 15 days to pay before a second bill is issued with a $5 reprocessing fee. If the toll remains unpaid for 80 days, a notice is issued with a $40 penalty per toll transaction. Unresolved penalties will still result in a vehicle registration hold.
“The legislature wanted more flexibility and that’s what this program is doing. It’s given us the flexibility to deal with customers that didn’t know about the Department of Licensing, that they needed their registration information kept up to date so that they could get their toll bill,” said Rubstello.
The new program has generated a lot of question from people asking their credit card companies for refunds to people like Marquicia Dominque, who learned that drivers with more than ten penalties won’t immediately qualify for the program.
“I have to wait two weeks to see if this is really going to happen. It’s just a waiting game now,” explained Dominque.
The legislature has been pressuring WSDOT for Good to Go billing changes and passed a toll customer service law that goes into effect this Friday. Until then, if you have a civil penalty, call Good to Go now!
As for all those people who already paid bills containing civil penalties – WSDOT says there will only be refunds for people who had a face-to-face hearing no earlier than February 19, 2015. Otherwise, the program is not retroactive.
Previous Good to Go stories from Jesse Jones: