For many, the various bridges of the Bay Area make up part of their daily commutes; others drive them for the sheer beauty, all expected to pay their fair share to cross the spans. Unfortunately, as the Examiner reports, toll evasion has cost the bridges millions.
In fact, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which manages 7 Bay Area bridges, reports that number at $14 million worth of unpaid tolls and fines. The MTC has a list of some 800 egregious offenders, they say, averaging 66 outstanding violations and owing more than $5,000 in tickets per person.
Those just feeling reckless for a day receive a $25 fine, which can be dropped if they get a FasTrak pass. Still not willing to shell out but wanting to drive the bridge? Subsequent violations result in a $70 ticket, with a hold going on a driver’s registration until the fees are paid. Many feel that current consequences don’t go far enough.
Enter: Riverside Senator Bill Emmerson. His legislation, proposed in January, proposes that those who owe more than $2,000 in unpaid California bridge tolls have their cars impounded until the drivers pay up.
MTC (which is in support of the bill) spokesperson John Goodwin said the transit agency “would work with authorities to ensure that only the most habitual toll evaders have their cars seized.”
The bill’s first hearing will take place later this month. If it passes, his legislation will take effect January 1st 2012.