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MDTA Board To Discuss Relief For Backlogged E-ZPass Tolls

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The Maryland Transportation Authority Board is meeting Thursday for its monthly board meeting. On the agenda: relief for E-ZPass customers drowning in penalties.

In the Spring of 2020, the MDTA made the switch to all-electronic tolling in an effort to protect toll collectors and drivers against COVID-19. Similar to the deferment of rent, mortgage and other financial relief programs, the MDTA decided to pause the processing of certain transactions and deferred mailing out bills for months.

Customers have since started to receive their bills, some of which added up to thousands of dollars.

Thursday, the board will consider waiving some penalties, long-term payment plans and hiring even more agents to cut down on long call center holding times.

Some of the potential options to assist customers could include allowing more time to pay tolls and establishing a longer-term payment plan.

In January, Maryland Sen. Cory McCray introduced a similar idea through Senate Bill 59, which proposes dropping late fees and setting-up payment plans. Right now, the bill is in the Referral Committee. The next meeting is scheduled for March 3 for the cross-filed House bill.

For now, the MDTA said customers with overdue toll notices are offered the option to sign up for an EZPass account. If the customer agrees, a toll transfer is offered. This will convert their video tolls to image tolls on their current unpaid bill, saving the driver 30%. In the future, the driver would save 50% and up to 77% with a commuter plan using the EZPass rate, according to MDTA.

The agency also said it's important to keep a positive balance once you do have an EZPass account set up. Otherwise, drivers will face a higher rate driving through the booth.

Backlogged transactions are expected to continue posting until this summer.

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