The MassPike switched to all-electronic tolling 18-months-ago. There have been fewer accidents, but the lack of toll booths has made it easier for out of state drivers to get a free ride on the MassPike.
The lack of toll booths on the MassPike has cut down on traffic and accidents. What it has not cut down on is outstanding toll fees.
MassDOT told 22News out of state drivers with no E-ZPass transponders owe $15 million in outstanding tolls.
Before the gantries went live, that number was less than 1 million.
If you live in Massachusetts, sooner or later you will have to pay these toll fees. If you have outstanding tolls, next time you go to the RMV, you won’t be able to complete a transaction until they’re paid.
The same goes for Maine and New Hampshire due to reciprocity agreements. But there’s no penalty for Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island or Vermont drivers that don’t pay tolls.
“There’s nothing like a reciprocity agreement with those two states because it’s a quid pro quo,” said Stephen Collins, director of tolling at MassDOT.
Collins told 22News MassDOT is in the process of getting reciprocity agreements with New York and Rhode Island.
“They will definitely be this year,” said Collins. “I’m hoping New York is online sooner rather than later and then Rhode Island will follow.”
But that won’t solve the problem for Connecticut, the state with the largest percentage of unpaid tolls.
Connecticut drivers owe Massachusetts nearly $3 million, and there’s no deal in the works with the state.
MassDOT has spent $800,000 mailing bills to the drivers who refuse to pay their tolls.
Collins also told 22News they are in the process of hiring a debt collector.
An agency spokesman told 22News they did anticipate losses when the system was installed, and the state will continue to pursue all unpaid tolls.