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Thousands of people likely overcharged for using Maryland's toll facilities

Thousands of people likely overcharged for using Maryland's toll facilities
Thousands of people likely overcharged for using Maryland's toll facilities 00:34

BALTIMORE -- A new state report shows over 82,000 customers were potentially overcharged for using one or more of Maryland's toll facilities.

The report was conducted by the Maryland General Assembly's Office of Legislative Audits. It was compiled after officials received dozens of complaints from people who said they had been charged the wrong toll fees. 

The complaints were made through the state's fraud, waste, and abuse hotline, according to the report. Some complainants had multiple complaints ranging from being charged the incorrect rate to being multiple times for the same trip.

A data analysis revealed that people who used the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge discount plan had been improperly charged polls, according to the report. 

"Based on our data analysis, we identified approximately $435,000 in potentially improper toll charges related to 10,474 Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge discount plan customers that warrant further follow-up by MDTA," the report states. "Under the discount plan, customers pay $20 annually for unlimited trips by a two-axle vehicle and should not be charged tolls if the vehicle has a properly mounted E-ZPass transponder."

Many of the inaccurate toll charges occurred over the first holiday season during the pandemic—between Dec. 24, 2020, to Jan. 15, 2021, according to the analysis.

During that time period, 4,465 customers were charged 7,813 tolls totaling $62,595, per the report.

"Based on our review of the related vehicle images taken by tolling cameras for 37 judgmentally selected tolls during the spike period, we believe MDTA should have dismissed 25 of these tolls relating to 23 customers since the vehicle images showed a properly mounted transponder or the image was insufficient to determine if the transponder was properly mounted," the report states. "For 11 of those 25 tolls where the photographic image was insufficient to determine if a transponder was properly mounted, since the license plate number was associated with the E-ZPass account we believe the burden should have been on MDTA to prove user error by a discount plan customer before charging a toll."

The analysis also shows that more than 82,000 people were likely overcharged by the MDTA when using its toll facilities.

"Based on our data analysis for all MDTA toll facilities, we identified 82,847 customers that were potentially charged more than once for a single trip through a toll facility," the report states. "The toll charges (including both potential duplicate tolls and correct tolls) for these customers totaled approximately $645,000. A majority of these tolls (80 percent) occurred at three toll facilities – the Intercounty Connector (ICC), the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge, and the Fort McHenry Tunnel."

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