The state Department of Transportation said Thursday morning that the bills for 350,000 toll transactions weren’t processed on time — so drivers can expect to receive their notices later than usual in the mail.
These bills apply to “pay by mail” transactions, when motorists lack a Good to Go account to have tolls electronically deducted. Cameras on the Highway 520 bridge and near the Tacoma Narrows eastbound bridge photograph license plates, and then toll contractor Electronic Transaction Consultants matches the plates with a Washington or out-of-state database, to obtain the owner’s mailing address.
Two-thirds of the overdue billings are for out-of-state vehicles, DOT said.
“If you drove one of the toll bridges this year and didn’t receive a bill, you’ll likely receive one soon,” said a statement by WSDOT Toll Division Director Craig Stone. “We apologize for the delay and we are working with our vendor to ensure this won’t happen again.”
Drivers will wonder if the delay puts them at greater risk of taking a $40 civil penalty, charged on tolls that go unpaid for 80 days. The answer is that the 80 days don’t begin until the toll bill is put in the mail by WSDOT, said spokeswoman Annie Johnson.
- (Times columnist Danny Westneat recently wrote about toll notices not reaching some bridge users and the subsequent fines that accrued: State turns a 520 bridge toll bill into paradox | Danny Westneat)